Do You Have To Wear a Seatbelt in a Truck in the USA?
Even though truck drivers believe they are protected enough without buckling up, the statistics show the opposite. Many truck operators lost their lives because they failed to wear safety belts on the road, while more than 23,000 drivers suffered non-fatal injuries.
What seatbelt requirements does the USA propose for drivers and passengers? Do you have to wear a seatbelt in a truck, and when can you be exempt from the current rules? What’s the best way to get rid of annoying seatbelt tickets, and how can using DoNotPay help you do it effortlessly? Wonder no more—all the answers you need are at your fingertips in this detailed article!
In all U.S. states (except for New Hampshire), wearing a seatbelt isn’t a personal choice. Most locations have specific laws that require drivers and passengers to buckle up when riding in or operating a motor vehicle. Each state has a set of regulations determining:
- Who must wear seatbelts in the vehicle
- What vehicles the law applies to
- Whether the law requires primary or secondary enforcement—whether the officer can ticket you only for failing to wear a safety belt or you must make another offense before they do it
- What the seatbelt citation costs and additional court expenses are
- Whether breaking the seatbelt law in that area is considered a moving violation—whether you can get demerit points to your driving record and whether it can affect your car insurance rate
- What happens if you don’t pay the citation—potential consequences
- What the children seatbelt and car seat regulations are in that area
According to the newest rule established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCSA), all commercial motor vehicle drivers must wear seatbelts. They also must ensure that each passenger in the truck is buckled up according to federal standards. Complying with this law is a must even if your vehicle is equipped with functional airbags as they can’t replace safety provided by a regular seatbelt. This law came into effect on August 8, 2016.
Besides federal law, each state has its regulations when it comes to wearing seatbelts in trucks. Not every area in the USA requires drivers to do so. Some states treat trucks as regular motor vehicles, and the law applies to them in all cases. In others, these vehicles are considered exemptions from the state regulations in specific circumstances.
For example, North Carolina allows drivers who operate light trucks made before 1971 not to wear their seatbelts. Illinois and Alabama have the same rule for trucks manufactured before 1965, while Florida exempts drivers operating trucks heavier than 26,000 pounds from using seatbelts.
General seatbelt rules for truck drivers have a few exceptions. You don’t need to have a safety belt on if:
- You are driving a vehicle that doesn’t have a seatbelt mechanism
- Your driving maneuver involves reversing
- A specific health issue keeps you from using it and you have written confirmation of your diagnosis
There are two main approaches to fighting a seatbelt ticket:
- Reasonable doubt—Everyone makes mistakes, including police officers. If you get a citation even though you do have your seatbelt on, you have the right to show reasonable doubt and clarify the misunderstanding
- Due diligence—This option is the best solution when you know that you committed an offense but have a good excuse for not wearing your seatbelt, including:
- Health conditions that prevent you from complying with the law
- Your child unbuckling their seatbelt accidentally
Regardless of the method you want to follow, you need to present your arguments in a clear and official manner.
Are you planning to dispute a seatbelt citation you got but don’t know where to start? A convincing appeal letter would help you get your ticket dismissed, but what if your writing skills are weak? No worries—DoNotPay gives you a tool that can compose the appeal letter for you without any unnecessary paperwork and complications.
Our AI-powered app will do the grunt work and send it to the local ticket authorities once you disclose the necessary info. The document we create is formal and customized according to your needs and case details!
Here’s the drill:
- Open your DoNotPay account and sign in using any preferred web browser
- Look for the Seatbelt Ticket product in our app
- Take a snapshot of your seatbelt ticket and upload it
- Provide more details about the offense and specify what argument you want to use
With our personalized appeal letter, you will:
- Increase your chances of getting your citation dismissed
- Skip in-person meetings with the ticket authorities
- Avoid paying hefty fees for professional legal services
- Be able to fight seatbelt tickets all around the USA from the comfort of your armchair
Ready to explore your state’s seatbelt laws? Find the guide you need in the table below:
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