For many American drivers and passengers, seat belt habits often fall into one of two categories. It’s second nature and you put it on before anything else. Otherwise, you skip it all together because you don’t think seat belt laws are that important. This habit has certainly contributed to the fact that half of those individuals who die in car crashes are unrestrained at the time of the accident.
North Carolina seat belt laws and child restraint laws ensure that both drivers and passengers are well protected while inside a vehicle. There are three good reason to not skip the seat belt while driving on state roads and highways. They include:
- Avoiding points on your license
- Avoiding fines and court costs
- Protecting yourself and others from injury and/or death
Here are some basic explanations of the child passenger safety and seat belt laws in the state of North Carolina.
Child Passenger Safety Law
Children who are under the age of 16 are required to be properly restrained according to the age-appropriate method. Every driver of a vehicle that is required by federal standards to have a seat belt must adhere to these requirements. According to G.S. 20-137.1, these drivers who are transporting children must:
- Properly secure each passenger either in a child passenger restraint system or by a seat belt.
- Have each child less than eight years old and weighing less than 80 pounds in some type of child restraint system, either a car seat or booster seat.
- For children under five years old and weighing less than 40 pounds in a vehicle with a passenger-side front airbag, sit them in a rear seat. An exception can be made if the child restraint system is designed to be used with air bags.
Failing to follow child passenger safety laws in North Carolina may result in points being added to your driver’s license and fines assessed. However, no punishment enforced by the law will be as consequential as the injury to or loss of a child.
North Carolina Seat Belt Law
For drivers and passengers who are ages 16 years and older, the North Carolina seat belt law has slightly different requirements regarding restraints. G.S. 20-135.2A states that each occupant inside a vehicle which has been manufactured with seat belts must be restrained at all times when the vehicle is in motion. Failing to follow the seat belt law can result in fines, court costs, and the possibility of having to complete a driver’s education course.
It might seem easier to skip the seat belt, but only until you are facing the consequences of that action. Making sure you and you your passengers are safely buckled can result in a safer and more secure trip, no matter where you’re headed.
Partnering with Quality Legal Representation
If you have been charged with a traffic violation, you may need a quality attorney who can explain your rights and fight for what you deserve. An experienced attorney who knows the law will result in the best outcome for you and for your case. If you or someone you care about are facing a traffic violation charge and you need sound advice, contact us today to see how we can partner with you to make sure you receive fair treatment throughout the process.