Press Release - 5-19-2022

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Thursday, May 19, 2022



“Buckle Up New York, Click it or Ticket” Campaign Runs May 23 Through June 5

GTSC Continues Partnership with NASCAR Star Ross Chastain to Promote Seat Belt Safety

12,573 Tickets for Seat Belt and Child Restraint Violations Issued During Last Year’s Campaign

Watch an Interview with NASCAR Driver Ross Chastain and GTSC's Chuck DeWeese

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) and NASCAR star Ross Chastain demonstrated the importance of wearing a seat belt to teens across the Capital Region ahead of the statewide “Buckle Up New York, Click it or Ticket” campaign which runs from May 23 through June 5. Chastain joined GTSC at three Rensselaer County high schools this week to show teens how quick and easy it is to buckle up and how devastating a crash can be when drivers and passengers are unbelted.

During the enforcement mobilization beginning May 23, State Police and local law enforcement agencies will use marked and unmarked vehicles, checkpoints, and roving details to patrol for unbelted drivers and unrestrained passengers during the campaign. Law enforcement issued 12,573 tickets for seat belt and child restraint violations and 57,259 tickets for other vehicle and traffic law violations, such as distracted driving and speeding, during last year’s campaign.

“It’s simple—buckling up is the safest, quickest, and easiest thing you can do to protect yourself as a driver or passenger while traveling in a vehicle,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles and GTSC Chair. “This education and enforcement mobilization focuses on raising awareness among teens and young adults who are less likely to wear a seat belt than older drivers and passengers. We are fortunate to have NASCAR’s rising star Ross Chastain on our team to help spread this important message.”

Chastain, an eighth-generation watermelon farmer, will sport New York’s Protect Your Melon logo on his uniform and race car when he drives the No.92 Buckle Up NY Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race this summer at Watkins Glen International.  Additionally, over 1,500,000 watermelons labeled with "Protect Your Melon" and a "Buckle Up!" hashtag will be sold in grocery stores throughout the state during the spring and summer months.

In 1984, New York was the first state in the nation to pass legislation requiring drivers and front-seat passengers to use seat belts. In 2020, the state bolstered its historic seat belt laws by requiring everyone in passenger vehicles, regardless of where they sit, to wear a seat belt or be properly restrained in a child safety seat. According to the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), New York’s seat belt compliance rate has consistently remained at or above 90 percent since 2010.

New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “Safety restraints are not an option in New York. The risk of severe injury and death in car crashes increases significantly when motorists and passengers do not wear their seat belts. Taking a few seconds to buckle up and check child safety restraints is an easy way to reduce these risks. We want New Yorkers to enjoy their summer travel and reach their destinations safely. I thank the GTSC and our law enforcement partners for their collaboration in educating and bringing awareness to all who get into a vehicle in New York State.”

Chief of the Ilion Police Department and President of the NYS Association of Chiefs of Police Timothy Parisi said, “Our members and their personnel across the state take a great deal of pride and interest in New York’s seat belt compliance rate of 93 percent. Our statewide partnerships, public education, awareness programs and high visibility engagement activities all contributed to this accomplishment.  We pledge to continue our collaborative efforts to achieve even greater compliance, both day and night, to encourage seat belt use by all passengers on every trip.”

Livingston County Sheriff and President of the NYS Sheriffs’ Association Thomas Dougherty said, “There is one simple thing we can all do to reduce injuries and save lives in the event of a crash…wear a seat belt.  Everyone in a vehicle must wear a seat belt or be in an appropriate child restraint device, even back seat passengers.  The Sheriffs of New York State want you to wear your seat belt because it’s smart, it’s simple, and it’s the law!”

As part of its ongoing effort to make sure drivers and passengers are safe, GTSC's Child Passenger Safety Program supports training on how to properly install child safety restraints. Through this program, law enforcement and various community safety partners offer free child car seat inspections by certified child passenger safety technicians year-round. Information for parents and caregivers is available at

For more information on occupant protection, please visit the GTSC’s website or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

About GTSC

Combined with education and enforcement campaigns, GTSC coordinates various traffic safety activities throughout the year and supports ongoing initiatives to improve pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle safety. The GTSC also sponsors critical training for law enforcement, provides resources for teen drivers and their parents, and promotes seatbelt use statewide.

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