The Ins and Outs of the Iowa Seatbelt Laws
Iowa’s seatbelt usage is beyond the national average, with a rate of 95.2%. Despite that, the government is going strong with road safety campaigns. Just in 2020, in 2,988 crashes in this state, 167 people were injured because they were unbelted.
What can motivate more people to spare a second and lock in the buckle is getting to know the Iowa seatbelt laws. When you know what the cost and driving record repercussions of a ticket are, you’ll be more likely to play by the rules.
Our guide will also uncover what you need to do to contest a wrongfully issued ticket on a minimal budget.
The law in Iowa dictates that all front-seat occupants must have a seatbelt on. The rules apply to resident and out-of-state vehicles. If you don’t wear a seatbelt properly—having the belt across your lap and strap over your shoulder—you will be ticketed.
Young drivers with a restricted license can’t have more passengers than the number of seatbelts.
Since 1986, Iowa has had a primary safety belt law enforcement. The police officers in the state can stop you for not wearing a seatbelt and slap you with a ticket.
There are several exceptions as to who must buckle up:
- Passengers on a bus
- Drivers and front-seat occupants engaged in work that requires frequent getting in and out of the vehicle—and when the speed doesn’t exceed 25 mph between the stops
- Occupants of a motor vehicle that is manufactured before 1966
- Front-seat passengers and children being transported in an authorized emergency vehicle
- Children riding in the backseat of motor homes
Passengers under the age of 18 do need to have a seatbelt on regardless of which seat they occupy.
What are the children safety belt and car seat laws in the Hawkeye State? The table below outlines them:
|Age||Car Safety System|
|Under the age of one—who weigh less than 20 pounds||Rear-facing car seat|
|One to six||Car seat or booster seat|
|Six to 11||Child restraint system or seatbelt|
Children’s height and weight need to correspond with car seat manufacturer’s recommendations.
General advice on keeping children safe during the ride is:
- Use the appropriate car seat system as long as possible—until the child outgrows it
- Children should ride in the back seat until the age of 13 at least
- Use both the lap and shoulder belt when a child reaches the demanded height for regular safety belts—which is around four feet and nine inches
If you violate the safety belt or safety harness law, you are guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined as follows:
|Violation||Fine||Surcharge||Court Cost||Minimal Total Cost|
|Adults seatbelt law||$50||$17.50||$60||$127.50|
|Child seatbelt law||$100||$35||$60||$195|
Drivers are responsible for their and minors’ violations, while adult passengers need to cover their own fines.
A conviction for not wearing a seatbelt in Iowa isn’t considered a moving violation. Breaking this law will go on your driving record, but it will not count toward a license suspension.
Not paying the fine can only increase the cost of breaking the seatbelt law as additional fees will apply. When the court debt becomes delinquent, you won’t be able to renew your driver’s license or motor vehicle registration.
If you believe that the ticket was unwarranted, you can go to court and try to get it dismissed. The first step is to develop a strong argument that gives you a reasonable cause for contesting. You can build your defense by claiming that:
- You were wearing a seatbelt and the officer made an error—a reasonable cause
- You were unbelted due to a legally acceptable reason, such as driving in reverse—a due diligence defense
You don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars for a lawyer, nor do you need to overturn the ticket on your own. , and you’ll get a convincing letter of appeal automatically.
Our user-friendly interface makes a few-minute-long ticket appeal possible. We’ll generate the letter based on the information you provide us with and send it to the local authorities in no time.
The process is beyond simple—you only need to:
- Select the Seatbelt Ticket tool
- Give us a photo of your ticket
- Answer our chatbot’s questions
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