Georgia law requires passenger vehicles to have seat belts. People must use this safety equipment or face a ticket and fine. Children must be in appropriate restraint devices for their age and size.
The purpose of these laws is to save lives. Although it is possible to sustain severe injuries when using a seat belt, complying with the seat belt laws can save your life. We have all heard of many instances in which two people were in the same car during a crash. The person wearing a seat belt walked away with only cuts and bruises, but the unrestrained person flew through the windshield and suffered fatal injuries.
Whether or Not Your Vehicle Needs Seat Belts
Every private passenger car made after January 1, 1964, must have two front seat safety belts. You are not allowed to sell a car manufactured after that date without the required seat belts.
Passenger cars, pickup trucks, and vans must comply with the Georgia seat belt laws, but taxicabs and public transit vehicles are exempt. For purposes of the seat belt regulations, passenger vehicles include every motor vehicle designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers. The category includes cars, vans, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
Georgia law does not consider these examples as passenger vehicles for purposes of seat belt rules:
- Motor-driven cycles
- Off-road vehicles
- Farm vehicles driven by adults
- Some school buses transporting children over four years of age
- Vehicles made before July 1, 2015, that did not have factory-installed seat belts as of that date and whose design was to transport 11 to 15 passengers.
Seat Belt Rules for Adults
A person over the age of 17 convicted of violating Georgia’s seat belt usage laws faces a fine of $15. A law enforcement officer who has a clear and unobstructed view of an unrestrained person can issue a citation without the need for any other violation.
Failure to wear a seat belt when required by state law will not:
- Serve as evidence of negligence or causation
- Will not be a factor for fault or liability
- Be grounds to cancel insurance coverage or increase the cost of insurance
- Be a factor used to decrease damages in the event of an accident
Seat Belt Rules for Children
All children under the age of 18 must wear seat belts or other safety restraints when riding in a non-exempt passenger vehicle. A child who is taller than four feet and nine inches (4’9”) is allowed to wear a regular seat belt. Children who are shorter than that must use the type of safety restraint appropriate for their age and size.
You must install and use any child passenger restraint system according to the manufacturer’s directions. Improperly installing or incorrectly using these systems violates Georgia law.
The driver can get a fine of $25 to $50 (depending on the age of the child and the type of violation) for the first conviction for violating Georgia’s child safety restraint regulations. Additional convictions can carry a fine of up to $100 per violation.
Exceptions to the Seat Belt Regulations
In some situations, Georgia law says that people do not have to use seat belts when riding in the front seat of a vehicle that would ordinarily have to comply with the seat belt usage rules. Some of the exceptions include:
- Drivers or front seat passengers in delivery vehicles or other vehicles that frequently stop, with the driver or passenger leaving the vehicle many times and the vehicle driving slowly, no more than 15 miles per hour between stops.
- A driver or passenger who has a written statement from a physician that says the person cannot wear a seat belt because of a medical or physical reason.
- A person with a license endorsement or official certificate from a government agency of another state or country that the person cannot wear a seat belt because of a physical, medical, or other valid reason.
- When the driver is operating the vehicle in reverse gear.
- A vehicle that falls within a federal law exception or is a 1964 or earlier model year.
- A postal worker delivering the mail.
- A person delivering newspapers.
- During an emergency service.
Getting Legal Help
Our state’s laws that regulate the use of seat belts and child safety restraint systems can be confusing because there are many exceptions to the general rules. You do not have to figure out all the legalities by yourself.
The car accident team at S. Burke Law will be happy to talk with you and answer your questions. If you think that seat belts or child safety restraint systems might be an issue in your Georgia car accident, contact us. We perform a thorough investigation of every car accident case we handle to determine fault and establish the value of your case. We will analyze the police report and gather the evidence to build your claim.
We handle car accident injury claims on a contingent fee basis, which means that we do not get paid until you win. You will not have to pay us upfront legal fees. Our fees come out of the settlement or award at the end of the matter.
Call us today at 404-842-7838 to get a free consultation. There is no obligation.