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Table 2-4: Key Provisions of Safety Belt Use Laws: 2012

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State Effective1 Enforcement2 Base fine3 Seat belt required Exemptions
Seats4 Ages5
Alabama 7/18/1991 Primary Not more than $25 Front All Medical reasons, model year <1965, rural mail carriers/ newspaper delivery vehicles, vehicles operating in reverse.
Alaska 9/12/1990 Primary Not more than $15 All 16 years and older School buses, emergency vehicles, mail or newspaper delivery vehicles, non-highway vehicles (generally, off-road or snowmobiles).
Arizona 1/1/1991 Secondary Not more than $10 All Front 5-15 years 5 years and older Designed for >10 passengers, model year <1972, rural mail carriers, medical reasons.
Arkansas 7/15/1991 Primary Not more than $25 Front All Model year < 1972. Not required when an emergency exists that threatens the life of a child or person operating a motor vehicle. Any child who is physically unable because of a medical condition (as certified by a physician) is exempted.
California 1/1/1986 Primary Not more than $20 All 16 years and older Medical reasons, emergency vehicles, rural postal service vehicles, newspaper delivery vehicles, recycling vehicles, taxis.
Colorado 7/1/1987 Secondary $65 Front All Ambulence crew, peace officer, medical reasons, passenger buses, school buses, postal service vehicles, delivery and pickup service vehicles.
Connecticut 1/1/1986 Primary $504 Front All Medical reasons, emergency vehicles other than fire-fighting apparatus, postal service vehicles, newspaper delivery vehicles.
Delaware 1/1/1992 Primary $25  All 16 years and older Medical reasons, postal service vehicles, tractors, off-highway vehicles, electric personal assistive mobility devices.
District of Columbia 12/12/1985 Primary $50 All 16 years and older Vehicles manufactured before July 1, 1966; medical reasons; all seat belts occupied;seating for >8 people, taxis (6pm-6am).
Florida 7/1/1986 Primary $30  All Front 6-17 years 6 years and older Medical reasons; newspaper delivery vehicles; solid waste/ recyclable collection service vehicles working designated routes; persons traveling in the living quarters of a recreational vehicle or a space within a truck body primarily intended for merchandise or property; school buses; buses that transport for compensation; farm tractors or implements of husbandry; trucks >26,000 lb.
Georgia 9/1/1988 Primary Not more than $15 All Front 8-17 years 18 years and older Pickups, vehicles designed for >10 passengers, off-road vehicles, vehicles used for frequent stops (all seats), rural postal vehicles, newspaper delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles, driver in reverse, taxis, public transit vehicles.
Hawaii 12/16/1985 Primary $45  All Front 8-17 years 15 years and older Bus or school bus >10,000 lb, emergency vehicles, taxicabs. DOT may establish additional exemptions.
Idaho 7/1/1986 Secondary $10  All 7 years and older Vehicles >8,000 lb, mail carriers, implements of husbandry, motorcycles.
Illinois 1/1/1988 Primary Not more than $25 All Front 18 years and under if driver is under 19 years 16 years and older Motorcycles, vehicles that stop frequently for medical reasons, rural letter carriers, model year <1965.
Indiana 7/1/1987 Primary Not more than $25 All All Medical reasons, vehicles that stop frequently, farm vehicles, RVs, postal vehicles, non-drivers in parades, public utility vehicles, towing recovery vehicles, occupant other than operator of vehicle used by a public utility in an emergency.
Iowa 7/1/1986 Primary $50 All Front 17 years and under 18 years and older Delivery vehicles that do not exceed 25 mph between stops, bus passengers, medical reasons, model year <1965, emergency vehicles, motorcycles, rural letter carriers.
Kansas 7/1/1986 Primary7 $106 All Front 14-17 years 18 years and older Designed for >10 people, truck >12,000 lb, off-road vehicles, postal vehicles, vehicles delivering newspapers.
Kentucky 7/15/1994 Primary Not more than $25 All All Designed for >10 people, farm trucks registered for agricultural use only and with gross weight 2,000 lb or greater, motorcycles.
Louisiana 7/1/1986 Primary $25 All 13 years and older Vehicles with gross weight >10,000 lb, utility vehicles traveling <20 mph, model year <1981, postal vehicles, farm vehicles, persons delivering newspapers.
Maine 12/26/1995 Primary $50 All All Medical reasons, rural mail carriers, persons delivering newspapers, postal vehicles, passengers riding in taxi or limousine for hire.
Maryland 7/1/1986 Primary Not more than $26 All Front 15 years and under 16 years and older “Historical” vehicles, for-hire vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, vehicles delivering mail, vehicles built before June 1, 1964.
Massachusetts 2/1/1994 Secondary $258 All All Buses, trucks 18,000 lb or more, taxis, utility vehicles, model year <1966, postal vehicles, farm vehicles, authorized emergency vehicles, side-facing seat in car owned for antique collecting.
Michigan 7/1/1985 Primary $25  Front All Medical reasons, taxis, buses, school buses, postal service vehicles, model year <1965, commercial vehicles making frequent stops.
Minnesota 8/1/1986 Primary $25  All All Farm pickup trucks, postal vehicles, commercial vehicles making frequent stops and going <25 mph between stops, vehicles driving in reverse, persons riding in a vehicle in which all the seating positions equipped with seat belts are occupied by other persons in seat belts, model year <1965, medical reasons.
Mississippi 7/1/1994 Primary $25  Front All Vehicles driving in reverse, farm vehicles, medical reasons, buses, postal vehicles, utility meter readers’ vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, vehicles designed to carry >15 persons, trailers.
Missouri 9/28/1985 Secondary (primary for <16 years old) Not more than $1010 Front All Vehicles designed for >10 people, trucks >12,000 lb, postal service vehicles, vehicles requiring frequent entry or exit, agricultural vehicles.
Montana 10/1/1987 Secondary $20  All All Medical reasons, motorcycles, taxis, vehicles making frequent stops, occupants of motor vehicle in which all seat belts are being used by other occupants.
Nebraska 1/1/1993 Secondary $25  All Front 16 years and under 18 years and older Taxis, mopeds, motorcycles, emergency vehicles, model year <1973, parade vehicles.
Nevada 7/1/1987 Secondary Not more than $25 All All Medical reasons, public transportation vehicles, postal service vehicles, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles not exceeding 15 mph. Any vehicle or seating position if the State determines compliance is impractical.
New Hampshire n/a No law for persons 18 years or older (primary for <18 years old) $50 for persons <18 years old All 17 years and younger n/a
New Jersey 3/1/1985 Primary (secondary for rear seat occupants) $20  All All Vehicles manufactured before 1966, medical reasons, rural letter carriers, fewer belts than seats.
New Mexico 1/1/1986 Primary $25 All All Vehicles >10,000 lb, medical reasons, rural letter carriers.
New York 12/1/1984 Primary Not more than $50 All Front 15 years and under All Buses, school buses, taxis, liveries, emergency, rural letter carriers.
North Carolina 10/1/1985 Primary (secondary for rear seat occupants) $25.50 ($10 ofr rear seat) All All Medical reasons, farm vehicles, postal vehicles, designated commercial vehicles, delivery vehicles traveling <20 mph, trash/recycling trucks.
North Dakota 7/14/1994 Secondary Not more than $20 All Front 17 years and under All Designed for >10 people, farm vehicles, rural mail carriers, medical reasons, all front seat belts in use by other occupants.
Ohio 5/6/1986 Secondary $30 driver/$20 passenger  All Front 8-14 years 15 years and older Postal service vehicles, medical reasons, vehicles delivering newspapers.
Oklahoma 2/1/1987 Primary $20  All Front All 12 years and older Farm vehicles, RVs, motorcycles, motorized bicycles, postal service vehicles, school buses, taxicabs, emergency vehicles.
Oregon 12/7/1990 Primary No more than $250 All 16 years and older Vehicles in interstate commerce, designed for >15 passengers, newspaper and mail vehicles, meter and transit vehicles, for-hire vehicles, trash trucks, emergency vehicles, taxicab operators.
Pennsylvania 11/23/1987 Secondary $10  All Front 8-17 years 18 years and older Vehicles manufactured before 1966, medical reasons, trucks >7,000 lb, rural letter carriers, delivery vehicles, vehicles traveling <15 mph.
Rhode Island 6/18/1991 Primary12 $85 All 18 years and older Vehicles manufactured before 1966, medical reasons, postal service vehicles.
South Carolina 7/1/1989 Primary Not more than $25 All All Medical reasons, emergency vehicles, postal service vehicles, delivery vehicles, parade vehicles; school, church, or day care buses; vehicles except taxis, vehicles in which all seating positions with seat belts are already occupied, persons occupying vehicles not originally equipped with seat belts.
South Dakota 1/1/1995 Secondary $25 All Front 17 years and under 18 years and older Motorcycles, motorized bicycles, vehicles manufactured before 1973, medical reasons, passenger buses, school buses, farm vehicles, rural mail carriers, newspaper or periodical delivery vehicles.
Tennessee 4/21/1986 Primary Not more than $5013 All All Vehicles >8,500 lb, rural letter carriers, utility workers, newspaper delivery vehicles, automobile salespersons who drive <50 miles per day on average, parade vehicles, hayrides crossing a highway from one field to another if operated at <15 mph.
Texas 9/1/1985 Primary $50 All All Farm vehicles <48,000 lb, postal service vehicles, newspaper delivery, meter readers.
Utah 4/28/1986 Secondary (primary for drivers and occupants 18 years and younger) Not more than $45 All All Vehicles manufactured before 1966, medical reasons, all seats occupied or person is riding in a seating position not equipped with seat belts.
Vermont 1/1/1994 Secondary (primary for drivers and occupants 17 years and younger) $25  All All Buses, taxis, rural mail carriers, delivery vehicles traveling <15 mph, emergency vehicles, farm tractors, vehicles ordered by emergency personnel to evacuate persons from stricken area.
Virginia 1/1/1988 Secondary (primary for passengers 17 years and younger in all seats) $25  All Front 17 years and under 18 years and older Medical reasons, trucks >10,000 lb, school buses, motor homes, taxis, police vehicles enforcing parking or transporting prisoners, law enforcement officers when seat belts are impractical, rural mail carriers, newspaper delivery vehicles, utility meter readers, commercial vehicles making frequent stops.
Washington 6/11/1986 Primary $124  All All Medical reasons, vehicles designed for >10 people; when all designated seating positions are occupied; vehicles exempted by State regulation, including farm construction or commercial vehicles making frequent stops.
West Virginia 9/1/1993 Secondary Not more than $25 All Front 8-17 years All Motorcycles, vehicles designed for >10 people, vehicles manufactured before 1967, medical reasons, rural mail carriers, trailers. All seat belts in use and vehicle contains more passengers than total number of seat belts or other safety devices installed in compliance with Federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Wisconsin 12/1/1987 Primary $10  All All Emergency vehicles in which compliance could endanger passngers; taxis, farm trucks engaged in farming, rural mail carriers, land surveyors.
Wyoming 6/8/1989 Secondary Not more than $2516 All All Medical reasons, postal vehicles; excess passengers exempted if all seats occupied.

1Effective date of first belt law in the state.

2Primary enforcement enables police officers to stop vehicles and write citations whenever they observe a violation of the seat belt law. Secondary enforcement allows police officers to write a citation for seat belt infractions only after stopping a vehicle for some other traffic infraction.

3Additional processing and surcharge fees are likely to apply.

4The word “All” used in this category means everyone must be restrained. For children, that may be in a CR

5May include rear-facing CRs, forward-facing CRs, and booster seats.

6If a driver under 18 years old commits a violation, he/she is subject to a higher fine of $75.

7Secondary enforcement for other seating positions.

8The fine is $60 for violators 14-17 years old.

9Louisiana HB 197 was signed by the Governor on May 29, 2012, to expand the seat belt requirement for all seating positions to include SUVs.

10Drivers in Massachusetts may be fined $25 for violating the belt law themselves and $25 for each unrestrained passenger 12-16 years old.

11The fine is $50 for violators 8-15 years old.

12Rhode Island’s primary seat belt law includes a sunset provision that will revert the law to secondary enforcement on June 30, 2013.

13In lieu of a court appearance, a first offender may pay a fine of $10; for a second or subsequent offense, the fine is $20.

14Upgraded to primary enforcement on May 23, 2013, effective July 9, 2013.

15Penalty not less than $30 or more than $75 for a violation involving children <4 years old and not less than $10 or more than $25 for children 4–8 years old.

16Not less than $10 for passenger or more than $25 for driver.

KEY: n/a = not applicable

NOTES: For the most current provisions of state seat belt laws, see the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Safety Belt Use Laws, available at /iihs.org/laws/SafetyBeltUse.aspx. For more information on child restraint laws, see Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report, available at www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Cats.

SOURCES: Effective Dates: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, Safety Belt Use Laws, available at www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/safety-belts/topicoverview as of June 2015. Enforcement, Base fine, Seat belt required and Exemptions: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts 2012, table 8, available at www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Cats as of June 2015.

Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017