NEW YORK, NY -- The New York State Police, the New York State Park Police and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee are partnering to ensure that visitors to state parks are buckling up for safety.
“BUNY in the Parks” is an enforcement and educational campaign to ensure that visiting motorists and their passengers properly buckle-up their seatbelts while travelling inside state parks, and to teach the importance of properly securing our youngest visitors in approved child safety seats. This year’s campaign will be held from Saturday, July 14, 2018 to Monday, August 13, 2018.
Since New York State became the first state in the nation to enact a primary seatbelt law, effective January 1, 1985, countless lives have been saved. The seatbelt compliance rate has steadily increased, reaching 93% in New York State in 2017. However, motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of death for children. Additionally, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2016, more than one-third (35%) of children under the age of 13 killed in car crashes were not restrained using seat belts, car seats or booster seats.
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “As the summer travel season continues, the State Police, State Park Police, and our law enforcement partners strongly encourage the proper use of seat belts and child safety seats in motor vehicles. By simply buckling-up, motor vehicle occupants dramatically reduce their risk of severe injury or death if involved in a crash. We will be working diligently to promote proper seatbelt use and compliance, and reduce the senseless tragedies caused by people who ignore the seat belt laws.”
State Park Police Chief David Page said, “The safety of our visitors is our greatest priority and through our partnership with other law enforcement agencies, we can continue to administer and educate the public on proper seat-belt usage to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for all motorists that enter our state parks.”
Terri Egan, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, said, “We are proud so many New Yorkers understand how important it is to wear a seat belt and to make sure children are properly secured. Still, we can do better. Every unsecured person risks their life so we continue to work along with our law enforcement partners to educate the public. When you enter a state park, you go there to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities, but don’t relax when it comes to safety. Keep all belts and restraints buckled as long as the car is in motion.”
This initiative coincides with one of the peak times that visitors travel to state parks throughout New York State, and the goal is for motorists and their families to arrive and depart safely. Increasing seatbelt use is one of the most effective ways to reduce crash related injuries and fatalities. Ensuring motorists adhere to proper child restraint laws will, no doubt, protect the lives of many that cannot speak for themselves.
During the 2017 BUNY in the Parks campaign, State Police and State Park Police issued more than 43,089 total tickets. That included 929 tickets for child restraint violations, and 1,921 tickets for adult seatbelt violations.
Highlights of New York State's occupant restraint law:
- In the front seat, the driver and each passenger must wear a seat belt, one person per belt. The driver and front-seat passengers aged 16 or older can be fined up to $50 each for failure to buckle up.
- Every occupant, regardless of age or seating position, must use a safety restrain when riding with driver who has a junior license or learner permit.
- Each passenger under age 16 must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child safety restraint system. The restraint system must comply with the child height and weight recommendations determined by the manufacturer. Depending on the size of the child, the restraint system may be a safety seat or a booster seat used in combination with a lap and shoulder belt.
- The driver must make sure that each passenger under age 16 obeys the law. The driver can be fined $25 to $100 and receive up to three driver license penalty points for each violation.