How much is a seat belt violation ticket? A campaign urging Texans to buckle up. In 2021, the number of people who died while not wearing a seat belt increased by 14% over 2020, with 1,226 unbuckled drivers and passengers killed on Texas roadways.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates since its inception 20 years ago, “Click It or Ticket” has saved 6,972 lives, prevented more than 120,000 serious injuries and saved Texas more than $26.3 billion in related economic costs.
Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by 45% for people in the front seat of passenger cars. For those in pickups, seat belts reduce the risk of dying by 60%. Your seat belt is designed to keep you from being thrown into the dashboard or windshield—or even onto the road. An airbag can be a big lifesaver. But without a seat belt, it can be ineffective and even dangerous. In a crash, a seat belt ensures you’re not thrown into a fast-opening airbag—a force that could injure or kill you. You may think your airbag is going to protect you, but it’s designed to work with seat belts, not to replace them.
In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than eight years must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than four feet nine inches. If they aren’t properly restrained, the driver faces fines up to $250, plus court costs.
How Much is a Seat Belt Violation Ticket
Almost all states require seat belt use: All states except New Hampshire mandate seat belt use. Some 34 states have “primary” seat belt laws, which means that police can stop and ticket you for not wearing your belt even if you haven’t done anything else wrong. About 15 states have “secondary laws” that only let police issue a seat belt ticket if they stop and cite you for another offense.
What if you are sitting in the back? You’ll get ticketed for not wearing your safety belt in the back seat in 28 states. These figures do not include child restraint laws requiring car seats or booster seats – an entirely separate matter.
READ ALSO: How to Get a No Seat Belt Ticket Dismissed
State penalty amounts are all over the map: If you get caught driving without a safety belt, the amount of money you pay in fines can range from $10 in Wisconsin to $162 in fines and penalties in California. Other states that impose larger fines include Oregon’s penalties set at $130, Washington’s at $124, and North Carolina at $25.50 plus $135.50 in court costs. Fines and penalties for a seat belt violation can also vary depending on your age and where you are sitting. For example, in Connecticut people ages 18 and older pay $92, while the fine and penalties imposed on the parent or driver of an unbelted minor come to $120.
Some states have more severe penalties: Though most states won’t count a seat belt violation as a moving violation, some states like New York do under certain circumstances. If you get ticketed for not wearing a safety belt in the Empire State, it’s a simple $50 ticket, not a moving violation. However, if a passenger 16 years old or under is caught not wearing a seat belt while you are driving, you’ll pay $100, plus you get three moving violation points on your license. And, if you get 11 points in an 18-month span, you risk having your driving privileges suspended.
In New Jersey, seat belt violations can help send you to jail. State law makes it a crime for a person to knowingly violate any law intended to protect public health and safety. In the case against Kirby Lenihan, a teenager who got into a drug-induced car accident that led to the death of her passenger – neither of who were wearing seatbelts – the state Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey’s law is “clearly intended to protect the public health and safety.” Given the right circumstances, a violation can lead to a criminal conviction.