How Does the Texas Seatbelt Law Work?
With the solid rules proposed by the Lone Star State, seatbelt use increased from 76% to 91% in the last twenty years. The situation is still far from perfect as more than 1,000 fatalities due to improper safety belt use were reported in 2020.
Figuring out the essentials of the Texas seatbelt law can save you from getting citations and going to court because of them or suffering serious car accidents.
In this manual, we reveal all you should know about these regulations. Besides unraveling regular and child seatbelt rules in Texas, we teach you how to skip paying the existing fines by appealing them with DoNotPay!
Seatbelt rules in Texas and the fines you can get if you violate them are much stricter than laws in many other U.S. states. Here are the regulations you should consider for safe driving:
- Passengers must wear safety belts regardless of where they sit in a vehicle
- Breaking seatbelt rules in Texas is considered a primary violation. If the police stop you and realize you don’t have your safety belt on, they can issue a citation even if you haven’t made any other traffic violations
- Even though it counts as a primary offense, failing to comply with the seatbelt law is a non-moving violation. It means that the state doesn’t assign any demerit points to your driving record if you get a safety belt ticket
- Seatbelt citation costs don’t raise your car insurance rates
In some situations, it’s difficult or impossible to wear a seatbelt. For this reason, the law allows some people to remove it when driving/traveling. These exceptions apply to:
- People who can’t have a safety belt on due to medical reasons and who possess a written statement from their physician—The note must contain your full name, date, and the exact diagnosis
- Passengers in old cars that don’t have proper safety belts installed
- United States Postal Service (USPS) deliverers and other postal workers because they must leave and enter the vehicle frequently, which makes seatbelt use difficult
- Utility and newspaper delivery workers
- Persons operating commercial farm vehicles
Section 545.712 of the Texas Occupant Restraint Laws also proposes child seatbelt requirements for passengers under the age of 17 in your vehicle. All of them must be secured with a suitable child restraint device or a regular safety belt.
The age and height/weight of your child determine the type of safety restraint system you must use. The table below contains further explanation of this scheme:
|Kids under the age of two||Rear-facing car seat—it can be used until the child reaches the maximum height or weight determined by the manufacturer|
|Kids between two and four years old not heavier than 40 pounds||Forward-facing car seat with a harness|
|Kids between four and eight years old and not taller than 4’ 9’’||Belt-positioning booster seat|
|Kids who are eight years old or younger, but taller than 4’ 9’’||Standard safety belt|
Children mustn’t ride in the front seat regardless of how old they are.
Seatbelt ticket cost in Texas usually ranges from $25 to $50. The fines following offenses that include child safety law violations are much higher. The law enforcement officers may issue a $250 ticket that can get even bigger when you add court expenses.
A seatbelt ticket is always an unpleasant surprise, but you shouldn’t despair. There are several ways to reduce your fine or have it dismissed, such as:
- Accept the citation and pay it—Ignoring a fine may lead to astronomical fees and unpleasant court hearings
- Take a seatbelt safety course—In some situations, Texas allows people who got seatbelt tickets to have them waived or reduced by attending a six-hour course online or in person. You must take the course at a school approved by the state
- Hire a lawyer and have them go to court for you—This option doesn’t pay off as you must spend huge amounts on professional services to fight a simple ticket
- Appeal the ticket yourself—Draft a claim manually and explain why your fine should be dismissed
- Use DoNotPay to create a solid appeal—You don’t need to write an appeal letter yourself—our app can do it for you!
To appeal your safety belt fine, you need a formal and persuasive complaint letter with a solid explanation. Whether you are too busy to write it or don’t know how to do it, DoNotPay enters the scene to save the day!
Here are the steps you should follow:
- Log in to your DoNotPay account
- Navigate to the Seatbelt Ticket feature
- Upload a picture of your citation to our platform
- Complete a short questionnaire our chatbot has for you
We will process your details and create a perfect appeal letter for you in record time! Our system will send it to the correct ticket department instantly and help you avoid paying an arm and a leg!
If you ever have to drive out of Texas, get acquainted with safety belt regulations in other U.S. states using our guides that you can find in the following table:
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