Galef Legislation on Child-Related Motor Vehicle Safety Passes the Assembly

Bill would make it illegal for children under eight to ride in front seats
May 14, 2012

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef is pleased to announce that her Assembly Bill 6477, which amends the NYS Vehicle and Traffic law by making it illegal for a person under the age of 8 to ride in the front seat in most cases, passed the Assembly on May 8th.

“Numerous states and groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics already support and promote the fact that children even up to age twelve are safer when they are sitting in the rear seat of a vehicle. Motor vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for children ages 4 – 16, based on findings from the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. “Because of the statistics and recommendations like these, I wholeheartedly support this legislation in hope that we can help save lives of our youngest citizens.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that children are 20% safer when riding in the rear seat. Currently in New York, all passengers are permitted to sit in the front seat of a vehicle. By placing children in the back seat, they are better protected should the vehicle they are riding in be involved in the most serious type of crash, a head-on collision.

This bill does not make it illegal for a child under the age of 8 to ride in the front in all circumstances. A child under eight may still ride in the front seat if there are no rear seats in the vehicle, if a child safety seat cannot be properly installed in the rear seat, if all rear seats are already occupied, or if medical reasons necessitate that the child be supervised up front.

“The road is often unpredictable and requiring a young child to sit in the backseat will offer extra protection from harmful head-on collisions. I urge my senate colleagues to pass my legislation so this protective measure can be signed into law,” concluded Galef.