The seat belts are an important part of any vehicle. They keep the driver as well as any passengers safe in the event of an accident. All occupants of a vehicle should wear a seat belt at all times. The vehicle has sensors that detect whether or not a seat belt is not being used, and can alert them whether through a light on the dashboard or by a sound to buckle up so the safety features like the air bags can properly work if need be.
This is also when seat belt laws were passed: to further emphasize the importance of wearing a seat belt while driving or riding. In the United States, most seat belt laws are left to the state; however, the first seat belt law was at a federal level. On January 1, 1968, the Motor Vehicle Safety Standard took effect. This required all vehicles on the road, except for buses, to have seat belts in all of the seating positions. Later, this law was modified to require three-point seat belts in outboard seating positions as well as three-point seat belts in all seating positions.
In the beginning, wearing a seat belt was completely voluntary. New York was the first state in the United States to pass a law that took effect in 1984 requiring all vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt. All states, except for New Hampshire soon followed behind New York in this.
The law requiring seat belt wear is subject to two enforcements : primary or secondary. Primary enforcement allows the officer to stop an individual if they are not wearing a seat belt and give them a ticket as a result. However, a secondary enforcement only allows an officer to stop/give a ticket for seat belt misuse if that individual committed another primary violation such as speeding. Each state chooses their own type of law for this.
Here are some examples of states with their seat belt laws as well as when seat belt laws were passed. California has primary enforcement with an established date of January 1, 1986. Massachusetts has secondary enforcement with an established date of February 1, 1994. Washington has primary enforcement with an established date of June 11, 1986. Texas has primary enforcement with an established date of September 1, 1985. South Dakota has secondary enforcement with an established date of January 1, 1995.
If you are moving to the state of Georgia, it is important to read up on the different laws and regulations in this state, such as the seat belt laws. If you have been living in Georgia for years already, it’s never a bad idea to refresh your memory on information that you may have forgotten about.
To start with, Georgia seat belt laws state that all drivers and front seat passengers must be buckled into their seat belt when in a vehicle. The seat belt violation cost for failing to do so is typically $15. Besides the driver and front seat passenger, all occupants of a vehicle aged 8 to 17 must also be buckled in—regardless of where they are seated in the vehicle. Failing to follow this law can result in a ticket as well as a $25 fine for the vehicle’s driver. There are additional laws when it comes to young children and infants. All passengers under the age of 8 must be properly secured in an age and size-appropriate car seat or booster seat approved by the United States Department of Transportation. Children and infants should always be placed in the back of a vehicle and the seat must be properly secured to the car. Weight and height plays a big role. If the child weighs at least 40 pounds and is over 4’9″, he or she can be secured with just the car’s seat belt. Failing to do so, however, can result in a $50 fine for the driver as well as a ticket. Subsequent violations can add points to the driver’s license and result in larger fines.
Although these seat belt rules are held in place for the majority of drivers and passengers, there are some exempt to these laws. Those riding in a bus or taxi, those who find themselves in a medical condition preventing them from strapping in, or those who make frequent stops and exits of a vehicle to delivery property from the vehicle are exempt from wearing their seat belt. Other exceptions noted in Georgia seat belt laws include individuals driving a car in reverse, those driving a vehicle model older than 1965, rural letter carriers, newspaper deliverers, and emergency service providers.
If you live in, or are planning to move to, the state of Texas it is important to know the main laws and regulations—such as the seat belt laws. I will summarize some of the most important ones below.
First and foremost, the state of Texas requires the driver and all passengers of a vehicle to be secured by a seat belt.
There are, however, some Texas seat belt law exemptions. For example, back seat passengers do not need to be secured if the vehicle they are driving in has no seat belts in those seats. Also, Texas seat belt laws do not apply to farm vehicles under 48,000 pounds. Medical reasons may also allow someone to not drive buckled into their seat belt—the individual just has to get a written statement from a licensed physician stating the specific medical condition.
There are a few other things you should know. If you have children over the age of 13, they are allowed to sit in the front passenger seat. Any children between the ages of 4 and 8 must be restrained in a booster seat—unless they are taller than 4’9″. Children under the age of 4 but over the age of 2 are allowed to be seated in forward-facing child safety seats, as long as the seat manufacturer recommends or allows it. Any children or infants under the age of 2 must be placed in rear-facing child safety seats.
Failure to wear a seat belt can result in a fine ranging from $25 all the way to $250, plus having to pay additional court costs. Improperly restrained passengers at the age of 17 can face having a misdemeanor charge and a fine ranging from $100 to $250. If the violating passenger is under the age of 17, the driver is held accountable to paying the fines. Depending on the area you are located in in Texas, a judge may also mandate that you complete a 4-hour driving safety course—which has to be paid for.