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Seat Belt Laws

Seat Belt Laws

November 30
00:00 -0001

Seat Belt Laws

What are Seat Belt laws?

Although seatbelt laws vary from state to state, they uniformly protect passengers, typically minors from unnecessary danger from riding in a car.  Every state expect New Hampshire has some form of a seatbelt law that involve fines and may even decrease an award in a lawsuit should the injured party be found to not wear their seatbelts.  There is also the distinction of primary and secondary enforcement.  For laws providing primary enforcement, officers may stop vehicles for the sole purpose of not wearing a seatbelt.  Secondary enforcement would be penalties for non-seatbelt use stacked with other penalties that caused law enforcement to make a traffic stop.

Seatbelt law may also refer to specific seats, age the ages of who is allowed to sit in that seat.  For instance, a minor must be 16 or older to sit in the passenger seat.  In Maine, all persons 18+ must wear a seatbelt in all seats.  Fines vary wildly between jurisdictions from as little as $10 in Wisconsin to $200 in Texas for first time offenders.

Seatbelt laws by state, at a glance:

Primary enforcement:

State            Age       Seat      Fine for first offense

Alabama         >15     Front     $25

Alaska           >16     All     $15

Arkansas         >15     Front     $25 ($20 city & $20 county jail fines may be added)

California         >16     All     $20 base fine + min. $122 for court fees and other penalty assessments

Connecticut      >7     Front     $120 for <18 ($75 fine + $10 fee + $35 surcharge)

Delaware          >16     All     $25

D.C.                   >16     All     $50

Florida                >6     Front     $30

Georgia               8 – 17     All     $15

Hawaii                 8 – 17     All     $92 

Illinois                <18     All     $25 plus court costs

Indiana                >16     All     $25

Iowa                     >18     Front     $25

Kansas                 14 – 17     All    $60

Kentucky              <6     All     $25

Louisiana              >13     All     $25

Maine                    >18     All     $50

Maryland               >16     Front     $25

Michigan               >16     Front     $25

Minnesota             <7     All     $25

Mississippi            >7     Front     $25

New Jersey            <7     All     $46 

New Mexico           >18     All     $25

New York               <16     Rear     $50

North Carolina       >16     All     $25.50 + $135.50 in court costs 

Oklahoma               >13     Front     $20

Oregon                    >8     All     $142 

Rhode Island          >18     All     $75

South Carolina        >6     All     $25

Tennessee               >16     Front     $50

Texas                       >15     All     $50

Washington               >8     All     $124

Wisconsin                 >8     All     $10

Secondary enforcement

State             Age   Seat   Fine for first offense

Arizona              5 – 15   All   $10

Colorado            >18   Front     $71

Idaho                  >7     All     $10 

Massachusetts  >13     All     $25

Missouri              8 – 15     All     $50

Montana              >6     All     $20

Nebraska           >18     Front     $25

Nevada               >6     All     $25

North Dakota      >18     Front     $20

Ohio                      8 – 14     All     $30 driver; $20 passenger

Pennsylvania        8 – 17     All     $10

South Dakota        >18     Front     $25

Utah                       >16     All     $45

Vermont                 >18     All     $25

Virginia                  >18     Front     $25 

West Virginia        8 – 17     All     $25

Wyoming                >9     All     $25 driver; $10 passenger

There may be additional, less severe punishments for passengers not noted on the charts.  Drivers are usually responsible for ensuring that passengers are wearing safety belts and in some states may be fined for every person not wearing seat belts in the vehicle.

Older passengers that are not children may also face stiffer penalties for not complying with seatbelt laws.  For the best and most complete explanation of state seatbelt laws, contact law enforcement or check the web resources of the jurisdiction to learn more about age requirements, reduction of awards from civil settlements, and variable fines based on seat arrangements.

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/seatbelt_laws.html

 

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