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Updated N.Y. Law Requires All Passengers To Wear Seatbelts

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A new law in New York that requires all passengers over the age of 16 to wear a seat belt goes into effect Sunday.

Right now, only people in the front seats are required to wear seatbelts. Some local law enforcement agencies say they will allow a grace period for drivers and passengers to adjust to the new law.

Christine Nastasi is the Pediatric Trauma Coordinator at Stony Brook Children's Hospital. She disagrees.

"I don’t think we should give leeway," Nastasi said. "I think that right out the gate we should show how serious we are because this is a serious problem."

She said teenagers can be among the most at risk in car accidents.

"It’s so important that we educate these teenagers early, sometimes before they’ve started driving so that they know both the legislation and how to protect themselves and their friends," she said.

In 2017, almost half of the people killed in car crashes nationwide did not have their seatbelt on. In New York, 30 percent of highway deaths involved a person who was not wearing a seatbelt.

The new law penalizes passengers up to 50 dollars in fines. Drivers can get fined up to 100 dollars and get three points on their license.