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Failing to buckle up may result in a traffic citation add-on

Drivers may know that New York law requires them to wear a seat belt, but is that really grounds for a traffic citation?

Although Poughkeepsie readers may be tempted to answer in the negative, an attorney who focuses on criminal defense and traffic violations knows that this violation may be combined with others, such as a speeding ticket. In addition, failing to buckle up may result in points against a driver’s license.

For example, when stopped on suspicion of a traffic offense, a police officer may ask for a driver’s insurance and proof of registration. The officer may also check DMV records to see whether a policy has lapsed. Since New York law requires every driver to be insured, an uninsured driver might face criminal penalties or administrative sanctions. A driver not wearing a seat belt might also be held accountable at that time.

Notably, simply paying a traffic citation does not mean that the offense goes away. Rather, a paid citation may be the equivalent of a guilty plea, which could count as a prior offense in the case of future violations. As with other criminal offenses, a repeat offender often faces higher charges. A traffic citation can also potentially result in higher insurance rates. For those reasons, it is in a driver’s best interest to consult with an attorney after receiving a traffic ticket. In the case of multiple citations, it may be possible to negotiate with officials into combining the tickets into one.

Besides, buckling up is also a great safety practice, as a recent press release from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reminds us.

Source: NHTSA, “Memorial Day Advisory: NHTSA Releases Summer Driving Tips for Safe Travel During The Holiday Weekend and Summer Months,” Derrell Lyles, May 23, 2014