Seat Belt Laws

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Most states have seat belt laws that apply to both adults and children. These laws require the driver and any passenger(s) to wear a seat belt or harness, in compliance with federal mandates on safety belt standards. The seat belt laws usually apply to passenger cars, vans, or trucks, that are anytime in a forward motion.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Seat Belt Laws?

Many states carve out specific exceptions when their seat belt laws do not apply. These often include:

Seat Belt Laws and Child Restraints

Child restraints refer to lap belts, shoulder harnesses or age/size appropriate child safety seats. Each state has a child restraint law which specifies age and weight seat requirements for children who are being transported in a motor vehicle. The law requires that the driver transport children in a motor vehicle that meets appropriate federal motor vehicle safety standards currently in effect, and that the child is properly secured in accordance with the vehicle's manufacturer instructions.

Violation of the Seat Belt Laws

Drivers should be aware that they are responsible for themselves and for the children they are transporting. A violation of the seat belt law will usually be a ticket, but can be a misdemeanor and should be taken seriously. A first offense usually comes with a fine and court costs. However, subsequent and repeated offenses can become costly and lead to points on your driving record or worse. You should contact a lawyer to learn more about the laws in your state, and any rights and defenses you may have.

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Last Modified: 09-22-2011 02:16 PM PDT

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