This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor that requires seat belts be worn in emergency vehicles owned or operated by a volunteer fire company or ambulance service.
Fire and ambulance personnel had previously been exempt from seat belt laws while operating emergency vehicles.
“It has been reported that the single largest cause of Volunteer Firefighter and EMS responder deaths is vehicle accidents to and from incident scenes,” Thiele’s office stated. “The largest contributor to those deaths is failure to wear a seat belt.”
The law is consistent with current training and operation procedures, and is supported by the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, according to Thiele’s office.