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Seat Belt and Child Restraint Violations

Every state has a law requiring the use of safety belts by adult drivers and passengers in motor vehicles. The exception is New Hampshire, whose rule applies only to passengers under 18.

About half of states allow a law enforcement officer to make a traffic stop based solely on a seat belt violation (meaning that enforcement of seat belt laws is "primary" in those states). The remaining states require a law enforcement officer to make a traffic stop for a different reason, such as speeding or a mechanical violation before police can enforce the seat belt law (meaning that enforcement can only be "secondary" in those states).

Child Restraint Violations

Each state also has traffic laws requiring child safety seats for passengers under a certain age or body weight (usually regardless of whether the child is in a front or rear seat). Also, some states prohibit children below a set weight/age from riding in child safety seats in the front seats of vehicles equipped with passenger-side airbags. Young children who exceed the age or body weight limit for a child safety seat can typically use a standard safety belt for restraint.

Buckling Up for Safety: Tips for All Ages

The easiest way to protect yourself and your family in a vehicle collision is to buckle up. But, infants, children of different ages, and adults should follow different safety recommendations for restraints and safety belts.

Here are some child restraint safety tips for babies, children, and teens:

  • Infants are safest in rear-facing car seats until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
  • Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully while installing a new booster seat, car seat, or child restraint.
  • Children under 13 years of age are safest in the back seat.
  • Ensure children and teens do not tuck the shoulder belt under their arms or behind their backs.
  • Double-check all seating positions before you start your trip, ensuring no children or teens share seat belts.

Adult seat belts are your best defense against serious car crash injuries. Being ejected from a vehicle during a collision often results in death.

  • The lap belt and shoulder belt should lay across your pelvis and ribs, and the shoulder belt should be on the center of your chest and under your neck.
  • Seat belt adjusters may be available for your vehicle if the existing safety belts do not provide a comfortable and secure fit.
  • If you are pregnant, do not place the lap belt on your stomach. Instead, position it across your hips and pelvis.

Seat Belt and Child Restraint State Laws

Below, you will find each state listed with links to relevant seat belt and child restraint laws. Learn about traffic violations, tickets, and fines at FindLaw's Traffic Ticket FAQs section.

State Statute
Alabama Alabama Safety Belt Act

(AL Code Title 32, Ch. 5B)

Alaska Negligent Driving

(AK Statutes 28.35.45)

Arizona Vehicle restraints required; exceptions; civil penalty 404

(ARS 28-909)
Child passenger restraint system; civil penalty 404 (ARS 28-907)


Seat belt use required

(AR Code section 27-37-702)

California Safety Belts and Inflatable Restraint Systems 500

(California Vehicle Code Sections 27302 - 27317)
Child Safety Belt and Passenger Restraint Requirements (California Vehicle Code Sections 27360 - 27368)


Safety belt systems

(CRS 42-4-237)

Connecticut Seat safety belts. Child restraint systems

(GSC section 14-100a)

Delaware Occupant Protection System Safety Act

(DE Code Title 21, Ch. 48)

District of Columbia Use of safety belts required

(DC Code section 50-1802)
Child restraint; requirements (DC Code section 50-1703)

Florida Safety belt usage

(FS 316.614)
Child restraint requirements (FS 316.613)

Georgia Safety belts

(Georgia Code 40-8-76)

Hawaii Mandatory use of seat belts 403

(HRS section 291-11.6
Child passenger restraints 403 (HRS section 291-11.5)

Idaho Safety restraint use 404

(ID Statutes section 49-673)
Passenger safety for children 404 (ID Statutes section 49-672)

Illinois Seat Safety Belts

(scroll to 625 ILCS 5/12-603 to 5/12-603.1)

Indiana Passenger Restraint Systems

(Indiana Code 9-19-10)
Passenger Restraint Systems for Children (Indiana Code 9-19-11)

Iowa Safety belts and safety harnesses

(IA Code section 321.445)
Child restraint devices (IA Code section 321.446)

Kansas Safety Belt Use Act

(KS Statutes Ch. 8, Article 25)
Child passenger safety; restraining systems for children under the age of four; use of seat belts by children between the ages of five and fourteen. (KS Statutes 8-1344)

Kentucky Requirements of use of seat belts and child restraint systems 504

[PDF] (KRS 189.125)

Louisiana Safety belt use 404

(LRS 32:295.1)
Child passenger restraint system (LRS 32:295)

Maine Use of safety seat belts 504

(MRS Title 29-A section 2081)

Maryland Mandatory seat belt use

(MD Transp. Code section 22-412.3)
Child safety seats (MD Transp. Code section 22-412.2)

Massachusetts Seat belt use required 404 404 404

(90 MGL section 13A)
Child passenger restraints 404 (90 MGL section 7AA)

Michigan Safety belt required

(MI Vehicle Code section 257.710e)
Child restraint system required (MI Vehicle Code section 257.710d)

Minnesota Seat belt; passenger restraint system for children

(MN Statute 169.685)
Seat belt use required; penalty (MN Statute 169.686)

Mississippi Mandatory use of safety belts

(MS Code Title 63, Ch. 2)

Missouri Seat belts required for passenger cars

(MRS 307.178)

Montana Seatbelt use required

(MCA section 61-13-103)

Nebraska Use of restraint system or occupant protection system

(R.R.S. Nebr. § 60-6, 267)

Nevada Safety belts and shoulder harness

(NRS 484.641)

New Hampshire Child passenger restraints required

(NH Statutes 265:107-a)

New Jersey Seat belt usage requirements 404

(NJ Statutes 39:3-76.2f)

New Mexico Safety belt use required

(NMS 66-7-372)
Child passenger restraint (NMS 66-7-369)

New York Operation of vehicles with safety seats and safety belts

(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code section 1229-c)

North Carolina Seat belt use mandatory

(NCGS section 20-135.2A)
Child restraint systems required (NCGS section 20-137.1)

North Dakota Safety belts

[PDF] (ND Code Chapter 39-21 scroll to 39-21-41.1)
Child restraint devices [PDF] (ND Code Chapter 39-21 scroll to 39-21-41.2)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License
Operators must be licensed [PDF] (ND Code Chapter 39-06 scroll to 39-06-01)

Ohio Occupant Restraining Devices

(ORC section 4513.263)

Oklahoma Operators and front seat passengers required to wear safety belts

(OK Statute 47-12-417)

Oregon Rules of the Road: Safety Belts

[PDF] (OR Vehicle Code scroll to 811.210 to 811.225)

Pennsylvania Other Required Equipment: Child Passenger Protection

[PDF] (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 45; scroll to Subchapter E)

Rhode Island Safety seat belts in new vehicles

(RI Code 31-23-39)
Approved types of seat belts (RI Code 31-23-40)

South Carolina Child Passenger Restraint System

(SC Code scroll to Article 47)
Safety Belts (SC Code scroll to Article 48)

South Dakota Safety Belt System Usage in Passenger Vehicles

(SD Codified Laws Ch. 32-38)
Child Passenger Restraint System (SD Codified Laws Ch. 32-37)

Tennessee Child passenger restraint systems

(TN Code section 55-9-602)
Use of safety belts in passenger vehicles 404 (TN Code section 55-9-603)

Texas Operation and Movement of Vehicles

(TX Transp. Code Ch. 545.412 and 545.413)

Utah Driver and passengers -- Seat belt or child restraint device required

(UT Code 41-6a-1803)

Vermont Child restraint systems

(23 VSA section 1258)
Safety belts (23 VSA section 1259)

Virginia Safety lap belts and shoulder harnesses

(VA Code 46.2-1094)
Child restraint devices (VA Code 46.2-1095)

Washington Child passenger restraint systems

(RCW section 46.37.505)
Seat belts and shoulder harnesses (RCW section 46.37.510)

West Virginia Child passenger safety devices required 504 504

(WV Code section 17C-15-46)
Operation of vehicles with safety belts 504 (WV Code section 17C-15-49)

Wisconsin Safety belts and child safety restraint systems

[PDF] (WI Code Chapter 347 scroll to section 347.48)

Wyoming Child safety restraint

(WY Statutes Title 31, Ch. 5, Article 13)
Safety belt usage (WY Statutes Title 31, Ch. 5, Article 14)

Next Steps: Hire a Local Traffic Ticket Lawyer

If the police have issued you a safety belt or child safety restraint violation, you may be able to contest the ticket. Speak with an experienced traffic ticket attorney today to help prevent your seat belt ticket from affecting your driving record.

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