According to recent research, one of the leading causes of fatalities are caused by motor vehicle accidents.The majority of those fatalities – more than half – were due to people in the vehicle not properly using their seatbelts. In many cases, when a person is not restrained in the car, and an accident occurs, they are thrown from the vehicle.

Enforcing Seat Belt Laws

1. Primary Enforcement

Occurs when a driver is stopped by a police officer due to someone in the car not have their seat belt fastened. When this occurs, the officer will likely issue a traffic violation for violating the seat belt law. In states with this level of enforcement, the number of fatalities from accidents is far less than in other places.

2. Secondary Enforcement

With this type of enforcement a police officer cannot stop a vehicle just to issue a ticket for a seat belt violation. In order to be able to do this, there must be another reason for the person to be pulled over.

Seat Belt Laws FAQ

Darrell-Castle-and-Associates seat belt safety 101

  • It’s important to note that laws can vary depending on the state.
  • All drivers, children, and passengers must be wearing a seatbelt.
  • In most situations, police officers will issue tickets to drivers for not wearing their seatbelts.
  • Children are required to be wearing a seatbelt in all states. Infants and toddlers must be seated in the appropriate car seat if they are not old enough to ride as a passenger without one.
  • Backseat passenger restraints can vary by state. However, in most situations, when a seatbelt is provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle, buckling up should be required.

Exceptions to Seat Belt Laws

  • Classic cars that are not equipped with seatbelts.
  • Vehicles that are used in off roading situations
  • In some states, passengers can ride in the back of a pickup truck without a seatbelt.

Enforcement of seat belt laws varies depending on the state you reside in. However, even states with more lenient seat belt laws can credit lower number of fatalities to requirements around wearing seatbelts. Some people believe that being required to wear a seatbelt infringes on their rights, but there is no denying that wearing a seatbelt is always the safest option. Wearing a seatbelt has proven to reduce the amount of fatalities and serious injuries when in a car accident. In the event that you have suffered an injury from a car accident due to a driver’s negligence, speaking with an experienced attorney may be helpful.  

Click here to download our free car accident checklist. You can keep it in your glove box in case of an accident.