State law has mandated seat belt use by NC drivers for more than 30 years. The seat belt law has changed a lot over time. As a result, not everyone is clear on who is covered, what is required, and what the penalties are for seatbelt violations.
1. Everyone in the car must buckle up!
G.S. 20-135.2A(a) requires that every occupant of a motor vehicle manufactured with seat belts must have a seatbelt fastened properly on a persons body when the vehicle is in forward motion on a street or highway.
A handful of exceptions apply to the following people and motor vehicles:
2. A motor vehicle may not be stopped for a back-seat passenger’s failure to buckle up!
An officer who has reason to believe that a driver or passenger does not have a seat belt properly fastened on his or her body may stop the car to investigate. A law enforcement officer who has reason to believe that there is a rear passenger without a seat belt may not pull the car over. That’s because G.S. 20-135.2A(d1) categorizes the failure to buckle up in the back seat as a secondary violation. A officer who has lawfully stopped a vehicle for another reason and learns in the process of a rear seat belt violation may, of course, give a ticket to the driver for this offense.
3. What is the penalty for front seatbelt violations?
The penalty for a seat belt violation has significantly increased since seat belt use was first mandated. Back in 1986, a violation of the seat belt law was punishable by a fine of $25. No court costs were assessed.
Today, the penalty for a front-seat occupant’s failure to wear a seat belt is $25.50 plus $154.50 in court costs. That is $180.
The costs of a rear seat violation are a lot simpler. That penalty is a flat $10 and no costs may be assessed.
If you need an attorney to help you with a Seat Belt Violation please contact Adkins Law today. Our attorney's are located in the Huntersville, Lake Norman area. We specialize in Traffic/ DUI. For all other information regarding a Seat Belt Violation click here.