Galef/Robach Bill for Safer Car Seats Going into Effect this November

Bill A.8100/S.652, sponsored by New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Joe Robach, will be going into effect on November 1, 2019. This law requires that children under two years of age be restrained in a rear-facing car seat in most instances. This new safety regulation will increase the safety of young passengers in cars by protecting their heads, necks, and spines from injuries that are more likely to occur when in front facing seats. Similar laws are in place in California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Galef notes that while most bills take about 7 years to pass both houses and get signed by the Governor, this legislation was passed in a record time of one year.

When in a car crash, the best situation for a young child is for them to be in a seat that protects their head from moving independent of their neck. Having children less than two years old sit in rear-facing seats gives them optimal protection should there be a crash. As of 2017, the leading cause for child deaths are motor vehicle traffic crashes. Moreover, one year olds are five times more likely to suffer injury if they are in a forward facing seat than in a rear facing seat. However, thanks to the proper restraints, fatal injuries decreased by 71 percent for children under one year old and by 54 percent for children between the ages on one and four. Additionally, infants and toddlers in light trucks have seen a decrease of 58 percent and 59 percent respectively.

In recognition of the significance of this legislation, AAA awarded both Assemblywoman Galef and Senator Robach with the “Outstanding Individual Achievement Award”. They were presented with the award back in October, 2018, during the 54th annual Northeast Community Traffic Safety Awards.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef said: The support Senator Robach and I received from AAA was critically helpful in getting this legislation passed. I hope to continue working together on legislation in the ongoing effort to keeps our roads safe. Especially for our youngest and most vulnerable passengers, whose safety in motor vehicles will be greatly increased as this legislation goes into effect.”

I was proud to sponsor this legislation that will potentially save the lives of children under the age of two and help to keep some of our most vulnerable citizens safer while riding in an automobile. By ensuring that children under the age of two are restrained in a rear facing car seat, we can limit the effects a car accident may have on their head and neck and increasing their safety as a whole. I thank my colleagues in both houses of the Legislature for their support of this measure," said Senator Joe Robach.

John Corlett, Legislative Committee Chairman for AAA New York State, said, “Traffic crashes are a leading killer of children. Nationally, motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of injury deaths for children ages 5-24, and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1-4.Child restraints – car seats and booster seats – work to reduce this risk,”