As many drivers understand, wearing a seatbelt is also vital to ensuring safety while on the roadway. However, while this is generally common practice, individuals should also consider what the laws say regarding seatbelt usage.
To start, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, as per the Transportation Code Chapter 545, the first thing to consider is child safety seat systems. According to the law, the driver must ensure that children, who are younger than eight years of age, unless the child is taller than 4ft 9in, must be secured with a safety seat system.
A child safety seat system does not only include car seats, no matter the type, but also refers to the restraints that are designed to keep the child within that seat. To this extent, a child passenger safety seat system refers to “an infant or child passenger restraint system that meets the federal standards for crash-tested restraint systems as set by the National Highway Safety Administration.”
As one can imagine, seatbelts ensure that the probability of injury or death is significantly lessened in the event of an unforeseen accident.
However, if a child is not properly secured in a safety seat then his would be considered a misdemeanor. Not only does this effect one’s driving record, but is also punishable by a fine not less than $25 and no more than $250. As a whole child safety seats should include the following:
- Birth -1 year, up to 35 pounds: A rear-facing seat must be used, and the chest clip must be secured under the baby’s armpits. In addition the harness must be fastened snugly against the baby’s body.
- 1-4 Years, 20 to 40 pounds: A forward-facing seat may be used as per the safety seat manufacturer recommendations.
- 4 – 8 Years, over 40 pounds: At this stage, a booster seat may be used.
In addition to the requirements of child safety seats, Texas law also states that individuals 15 years or over who are occupying a seat that is equipped with a seat belt, but is but is not secured is therefore committing an offense. Moreover, consideration must also be made to ensure that only the required number of occupants is in the vehicle as otherwise there will not be the correct number of safety belts for each passenger. If any of the aforementioned occurs it will be a misdemeanor, which comes with a minimum fine of $25 and a maximum fine of $50.
In addition, an offense is committed if an individual allows a child who is 17 years or younger, and is not required to be secured in a passenger safety belt, to ride without being properly secured by a safety belt. If this offense is committed it will bear a misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $150.
The only exception to wearing a safety belt is if the individual has a medical condition, which has been proven by a medical doctor, if the individual is engaged in governmental duties (such as the postal service, or delivery of newspapers, etc.).