Understanding the Rhode Island Seatbelt Law
Wearing a seatbelt can prevent injuries or even save your life in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Although most people understand this, nearly every state has a seatbelt law to enforce safety on its roads. Whether you are a resident or visiting, you are subject to the laws of that state.
We have prepared this guide to help you understand the Rhode Island seatbelt law and the penalties you can face—like going to court for a seatbelt ticket—in case of any violations.
In Rhode Island, failure to wear a seatbelt is a primary offense. This means that you can be pulled over and issued with a seatbelt ticket without any other traffic violations. Here is a summary of the Rhode Island seatbelt law:
- The driver should always wear a safety belt or a shoulder harness when driving in the roadways, streets, or highways
- Vehicle occupants who are eight years old or older must be secured using a safety belt and/or a harness system, regardless of the seating position
The children seatbelt laws in Rhode Island vary depending on the age, height, and weight of the kid as follows:
|Child’s Age||Seatbelt Law|
|Under eight years||A child who is less than 57 inches in height and weighs less than 80 pounds should be properly restrained in any rear sitting position|
|Below two years||Kids younger than two or those who weigh less than 30 pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing car seat|
|Two years and above||Children who have outgrown their rear-facing car seat by weight and height should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness up as per the manufacturer's recommendations|
The only situations when a child can sit in the front passenger seat include:
- The motor vehicle doesn’t have back seats
- Other children are occupying all the rear seats
Keep in mind that, although children aged eight years and above can use the front seats under the RI seatbelt law, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be at least 13 years old to ride in the front seat.
In Rhode Island, the motor vehicle driver is responsible for ensuring that children's seatbelt laws are observed. If you are found driving with a child in the front seat or having a child over eight years old without a seatbelt, you will pay a fine of $85. You can also be required to appear in court for transporting a child without a restraint system.
If the driver or an adult passenger violates the seatbelt law, it can result in a $40 fine.
Seatbelt violations in Rhode Island are categorized as non-moving violations. They are not reported to the Department of Licensing (DOL) and don’t go on your driving record.
If you are issued with a seatbelt ticket, you can contest it in the following ways:
- Reasonable doubt—If you believe the ticket was issued in error and you were actually wearing a seatbelt, you can go for this method
- Due diligence defense—If you can’t use reasonable doubt because the law enforcement officers pulled you over to confirm if you were wearing the seatbelt, you need to use due diligence defense. This means that you will need to provide valid reasons for not wearing one, for instance:
- Having a medical condition that prevents you from wearing seatbelts—You should have official proof
- Driving in reverse
- Having an emergency
You should confirm the ticket’s due date and make your claim as early as possible. You can face additional consequences if you fail to pay or make an appeal on time. If you need help with your appeal, .
Do you know that you can avoid going to court or paying hefty fines for a seatbelt ticket? This is possible if you present a good argument, and the best part is—you don’t need to be a lawyer or hire one.
You can appeal your seatbelt ticket right on your phone and at your own convenience with DoNotPay. Skip the court appearances and save money now by following these steps:
- and search for Seatbelt Ticket
- Select the person who got the ticket—the driver, passenger, or child
- Tell us about the type of argument you want to use—are you arguing you had the seatbelt on, or did you have a valid reason for not wearing it?
- Provide more information about the situation and upload the photo of the ticket
Our AI-powered app will generate a personalized appeal letter and send it to the authorities in your stead.
Did you get a seatbelt ticket out of RI? Use our guides to learn about seatbelt laws in any other state and the best way to get that ticket dismissed:
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