Seatbelt Backseat Laws—All You Wanted To Know

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

What Are the Seatbelt Backseat Laws?

It is common knowledge that you need to have a seatbelt when driving or riding in the passenger seat. The seatbelt backseat laws are somewhat more complex. The regulations can vary based on different factors. If you don’t respect the law, you can end up with a ticket and pay the cost for not knowing.

In some cases, the driver can suffer the consequences when other passengers don’t wear the required seatbelt or restraints. The rules are many, and DoNotPay will help you understand them.

Learn what your obligations are so you can skip the costly aftermath of not respecting the seatbelt backseat laws.

When Is Wearing a Seatbelt in the Back Seat Required by Law?

Whether you need to wear a seatbelt in the back seat depends on the state you live in or travel to. How old the passenger is also affects the requirement.

The majority of states enforce using rear seatbelts for people of 16 years of age and older. In some places, the age limit starts at 15.

A study has shown that rear-seat occupants are the least likely to buckle up:

  • 91% of drivers wear a seatbelt
  • 89% of right-front seat passengers wear a seatbelt
  • 78% of backseat passengers wear a seatbelt

Certain countries are changing the law and introducing stricter measures. Starting October 1, 2021, all adults in Connecticut must have a seat belt when riding in the back. The State of New York made the same addition to its traffic regulations in the last year.

Not wearing a seatbelt in the back can result in serious or deadly injuries not only for the passengers but for drivers and front-seat occupants as well. During a collision, the force of impact can push the people in the back seat to the front of the car, causing more injuries to all passengers.

Seatbelt Backseat Laws by State

Thirty-nine states and two territories are enforcing backseat seatbelt use. New Hampshire is the only state that doesn’t require wearing a seatbelt at all if you are older than 18.

In some places, buckling up is a primary enforcement, while in others, it is a secondary one, which means:

  1. Primary seatbelt laws allow police officers to ticket the offender even if the driver made no other moving violation
  2. Secondary seatbelt laws allow police officers to issue a ticket only when another traffic offense has occurred—such as speeding

The table below will help you revise what type of law and backseat rule is enforced in your state:

StateBackseat Passengers Must Wear a SeatbeltType of Law
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virgin Islands
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
ArkansasNo, if older than 15Primary
OhioNo, if older than 15Secondary
  • Colorado
  • Missouri
No, if older than 16Secondary
  • Connecticut
  • Michigan
  • Tennessee
No, if older than 16Primary
OklahomaNo, if older than 17Primary
  • Florida
  • West Virginia
No, if older than 18Primary
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
No, if older than 18Secondary

What Happens if a Passenger Is Not Wearing a Seatbelt?

As you could’ve guessed, the passengers can get tickets for not wearing a seatbelt the same as the drivers. If you are required by law to buckle up, and you refuse to do it, you’ll need to pay a fine and potentially go to court. The fines can go up to hundreds of dollars.

Can I Be Fined if My Passenger Is Not Wearing a Seatbelt?

Some laws say that drivers are responsible for making sure that the passengers put their seatbelts on. The police officer can ticket the driver, and the court can keep him or her liable for the passenger’s injuries.

If you are driving the car, you can suffer the following consequences for driving unfastened passengers:

In other instances, you can only be held responsible for making sure that children and underaged passengers have their backseat seatbelts on.

If you or your passengers got a ticket, you can pay it or try to get it dismissed. Not paying the fine can result in additional costs and potentially a warrant for your arrest—in some states.

Do you have a ticket you want to get rid of? DoNotPay can help! , and we can help you fight your ticket with ease.

Save the Money and Dismiss the Ticket—DoNotPay Knows How

With DoNotPay, dismissing a ticket is easy, fast, and affordable. We can generate an appeal letter that is tailored to your situation and your defense argument. Using our nifty app is a no-brainer—you only need to:

  1. Select the Seatbelt Ticket product
  2. Take and upload a photo of your ticket
  3. Answer a few simple questions regarding the incident

Want To Learn More About Seatbelt Laws?

We can also help you get acquainted with other rules and regulations regarding seatbelts. Make sure that you never get a ticket again by revising our state-specific laws:

New York StateSouth CarolinaCalifornia
Washington StateMarylandGeorgia
North CarolinaArizonaPennsylvania
New JerseyTennesseeMichigan
Rhode IslandDelawareOklahoma
IdahoConnecticutDistrict of Columbia
LouisianaIowaWest Virginia
OregonNorth DakotaHawaii
NebraskaNew HampshireMaine
AlaskaSouth DakotaWyoming
New MexicoMississippiVermont

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