VTL 1229, New York State Belt Laws

Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.

Understanding VTL 1229 is almost as difficult as getting a child into a car seat. The following is a breakdown of the different sections and the penalties they carry if convicted of them.

The point of the seatbelt law is for all passengers, regardless of position in the car or age, to be properly buckled when the vehicle is in motion. However, the legislature has also accounted for the various dynamics at play in a car. For example, a driver is responsible for their passengers. If you are operating a motor vehicle, you need to make sure that your passengers have buckled themselves. This usually goes fine if you are driving your adult friends or older children. However, there are usually different ages in a car. Families are common and can have children at all stages of life and decision making. Because an adult is expected to have better decision-making skills, they will receive the penalties for the transgressions of the younger children.

For example, what happens if you buckled your two younger children, only to find out the brother ripped out their seatbelt because they wanted to attack their younger sister across the middle console? The sister, left with no choice, also removed hers to launch a counteroffensive. The answer is you would be receiving two seatbelt tickets. Even if the kids were properly secured at the beginning, if an officer observes them without proper restraints, you will be getting a ticket for each child.

The fine for each ticket will max out around $188- $193, which includes the mandatory New York State surcharge. The good thing is that this is not a ticket that carries a high monetary penalty. The very bad thing is that a no seatbelt ticket will show up on your driving history and cost you thousands of dollars in insurance hikes. Not every ticket shows up on a driver’s abstract or will affect your insurance. This one will do both.

The points differ depending on who the ticket is issued to. A no seatbelt ticket given to a driver will carry no points for that driver. However, a no seat belt ticket given to a driver’s passengers will result in three points for that driver. It will then be three points per ticket. For example, in the case of the warmongering brother and bamboozled sister, their father would receive six points. Both tickets will also show up as separate events on his driver’s history, with compounded penalties. The father, innocent, would now have a significant number of points on his otherwise clean license.

Because this section was drafted with safety in mind, there are also standards that car seats have to meet. All children under the age of four must ride in a car seat. If the child is under two, the car seat must face backwards. If the child is over two but under four, the car seat can face forwards.

If the child is older than four but younger than eight, they must ride in a booster seat. All children, from infancy to the age of eight, must ride in car or booster seats specific to their height and weight. If you have an abnormally tall or heavy child, an understanding of the car seat manufacturer’s specifics is good to have. If an officer deems that the child exceeds the model’s specifications, you can still receive a ticket even if they were restrained.

If you receive any number of seat belt tickets, whether for yourself or your passengers, contact a trusted professional today. Traffic attorneys know the implications of these tickets and how to mitigate the consequences.

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Disclaimer: All the content of this website has been prepared by Benjamin Goldman Law Office PC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this website shall not be construed as an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create, nor shall the receipt of such information constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Our hope is that you will find the information useful and informative, and we would be happy to communicate with you and answer any questions you may have about our legal services. Readers should not act upon the information on this website, or decide not to act based upon the information on this website, without first seeking appropriate professional counsel from an attorney licensed in the home state of the drivers license of the person who received the relevant traffic citation.