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Close up of seat belt being pulled tight

Seat Belt Laws

Seat belt laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, without any other traffic offense taking place. Secondary seat belt laws state that law enforcement officers may issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable traffic infraction.

Specific laws vary greatly from state to state, depending on the age of the rider and in what seat he or she is sitting. This chart covers seat belt laws for adults and young adults only. For requirements for infants, toddlers, and children, see GHSA's Child Passenger Safety Laws chart.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on adult seat belt laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

States with Primary Seat Belt Laws

State Who is Covered (Yrs.) In What Seat Maximum Fine 1st Offense
Alabama >15 Front $25
Alaska >16 All $15
American Samoa No data
Arkansas >15 Front $25 ($20 city & $20 county jail fines may be added)
California >16 All $162 ($20 fine + $142 in penalties and assessments)
Connecticut >7 Front $92 for >18 ($50 fine + $7 fee + $35 surcharge)

$120 for <18 ($75 fine + $10 fee + $35 surcharge)
Delaware 1 >16 All $25
D.C. >16 All $50
Florida >6 Front $30
6 - 17 All
Georgia 8 - 17 All $15
>18 Front
Guam All All $100
Hawaii >8 All $92 (including administrative fees)
Illinois <18, if driver <18 All $25 plus court costs
>16 All
Indiana >16 All $25
Iowa All Front $127.50 (including court costs)
Kansas 14 - 17 All $60
>18 Front
(other seating positions are secondary enforcement)
$10
Kentucky <6 and >50" All $25
>7
Louisiana >13 All $25
Maine >18 All $50
Maryland >16 All
(secondary for rear seats)
$50
Michigan >16 Front $25
Minnesota <7 (and >57") or >8 All $25, plus approx. $75 court surcharge (surcharge varies slightly by county)
Mississippi >7 Front $25
New Jersey <7 and >80 lbs. All
(secondary for rear seats)
$46 (including court costs)
>8
New Mexico >18 All $25
New York <16 All $50
All Front
North Carolina >16 All
(secondary for rear seats)
$25.50 + $135.50 in court costs ($10 + no court costs for rear seats)
Northern Mariana Islands >6 All $25
Oklahoma >13 Front $20
Oregon >8 or 4'9" All $110
Puerto Rico >9 (or >57")   $50
Rhode Island >18 All $40
South Carolina >6 All $25
Tennessee >16 Front $50
Texas >15 All $50 (driver or passenger)
<7 (and >57') - <17 $200 (driver)
Virgin Islands All Front $25 to $250
Washington >8 or >4'9" All $124
West Virginia 8 - 17 All $25
>18 Front
Wisconsin >8 All $10
Total 33 States + D.C., 5 Terr. All (16 + D.C., 2 Terr.)
Rear Secondary (4)
Front Seat Only (13 + VI)
 
1 Delaware's seat belt law is a civil penalty.

States with Secondary Seat Belt Laws

State Who is Covered (Yrs.) In What Seat Maximum Fine 1st Offense
Arizona 8-15 All $10
>8 Front
Colorado >18 (primary for <18) Front $71
Idaho >7 (primary for drivers <18) All $10 (drivers <18 pay $51.50,
including court costs)
Massachusetts >13 All $25
Missouri 8 - 15 (primary) All $50
>16 Front $10 (driver and passenger)
Montana >6 All $20
Nebraska >18 Front $25
Nevada >6 All $25
North Dakota >18 Front $20
<18 (primary) All $25 + 1 point on license
Ohio 8 - 14 All $30 driver; $20 passenger
>15 Front
Pennsylvania >18 Front $10
8 - 17 (primary) All
South Dakota >18 Front $25
Utah >16 (primary for <19) All $45
Vermont >18 (primary for <18) All $25
Virginia All drivers; passengers >18
(primary for passengers <18 in all seats)
Front $25 (driver ticketed for passengers <18)
Wyoming >9 All $25 driver; $10 passenger
Total States 16 States All (7)
Front Seat Only (9)
 

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.