Traffic Violation:

Seatbelt and Child Restraint Violations

The specifics of traffic laws concerning safety belts vary considerably from state to state. All states, except New Hampshire, require the use of safety belts. In about half of those states, not wearing one’s seatbelt is a secondary offense. This means that a police officer cannot pull a driver over solely because he or she is not wearing a safety belt; there must first be some other infraction. In the other states, not wearing one’s safety belt is a primary offense and a police officer can pull over a driver solely to enforce the safety belt law.

States differ with regard to treating a safety belt infraction as a moving or non-moving violation. In some states it is a non-moving violation and the only consequence is a fine (the harshness of fines can vary dramatically from state to state). Other states treat not wearing one’s safety belt as a moving violation, which may result in fines and points being put on one’s driving record.

Finally, states vary with the details of their laws concerning children and the use of restraining devices. However, each state does have a law that specifies the age and/or weight of children that must be placed in child safety seats. Some states further regulate the placement of child safety seats (not allowing them in the front of the vehicle. It is advisable to know the laws of your jurisdiction with regard to the use of safety belts and child restraining devices.

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