Seat Belts

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.

  • 34 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have primary seat belt laws for front seat occupants. Of these:
    • 18 states, D.C. and 2 territories include rear seats as primary enforcement.
    • 4 states include rear seats as secondary enforcement.
    • 12 states and the Virgin Islands do not include rear seats.
  • 15 states have secondary laws for adult front seat occupants. Of these:
    • 6 states also have secondary laws for rear seats.
    • 9 states do not include rear seats.
  • New Hampshire has enacted neither a primary nor a secondary seat belt law for adults, although the state does have a primary child passenger safety law that covers all drivers and passengers under 18.

belts
Law Chart

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 page 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.

A PDF chart of state seat belt laws is available for download here.

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.

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

  • Alabama

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 15 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Alaska

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $15

  • American Samoa

    No data

  • Arizona

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    Riders 8-15: All

    Riders 8 and over: Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $10

  • Arkansas

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 15 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25 plus court costs and city/county jail fines

  • California

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $162 ($20 fine + $142 in penalties and assessments)

  • Colorado

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 18 and over (primary law for riders under 18)

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $71

  • Connecticut

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 7 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $92 for riders 18 and over ($50 fine + $7 fee + $35 surcharge)

    $120 for riders under 18 ($75 fine + $10 fee + $35 surcharge)

  • Delaware

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

    *Note: Delaware's seat belt law is a civil penalty

  • District of Columbia

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $50

  • Florida

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 6 and over

    In What Seat?

    Riders ages 6-17: All

    Riders 6 and over: Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $30

  • Georgia

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and older

    In What Seat?

    Riders ages 8-17: All

    Riders 18 and over: Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $15

  • Guam

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    All riders

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $100

  • Hawaii

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $112 (including administrative fees)

  • Idaho

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 7 and over (primary law for drivers under 18)

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $10 (drivers under 18 pay $51.50, including court costs)

  • Illinois

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25 plus court costs

  • Indiana

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Iowa

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    All riders

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $127.50 (including court costs)

  • Kansas

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 14 and over

    In What Seat?

    Riders ages 14-17: All

    Riders 18 and over: Front (other seating positions are secondary enforcement)

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    Riders ages 14-17: $60

    Riders 18 and over: $10

  • Kentucky

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 7 and under and more than 57 inches

    Riders 8+

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Louisiana

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 13 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Maine

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 18 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $50

  • Maryland

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    All (secondary law for rear seats)

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $83 (fine plus court costs)

  • Massachusetts

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 13 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Michigan

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Minnesota

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 7 and younger and over 57 inches

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25, plus approximate $75 court surcharge (surcharge varies slightly by county)

  • Mississippi

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 7 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Missouri

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and over (primary law for riders 8-15)

    In What Seat?

    Riders 8-15: All

    Riders 16 and over: Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    Riders 8-15: $50

    Riders 16 and over: $10 (driver and passenger)

  • Montana

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 6 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $20

  • Nebraska

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 18 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Nevada

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 6 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • New Hampshire

    New Hampshire has enacted neither a primary nor a secondary seat belt law for adults, although the state does have a primary child passenger safety law that covers all drivers and passengers under 18.

  • New Jersey

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 7 and younger and over 80 lbs.

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    All (secondary law for rear seats)

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $46 (including court costs)

  • New Mexico

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 18 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • New York

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    All riders

    In What Seat?

    Riders under 16: All

    All riders: Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $50

  • North Carolina

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    All (secondary law for rear seats)

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25.50 + $135.50 in court costs ($10 + no court costs for rear seats)

  • North Dakota

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 18 and over (primary law for riders under 18)

    In What Seat?

    Riders 18 and over: Front

    Riders under 18: All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    Riders 18 and over: $20

    Riders under 18: $25 + 1 point on license

  • Northern Mariana Islands

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders over 6

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Ohio

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    Riders 8-14: All

    Riders 15 and over: Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $30 if in driver's seat; $20 if in passenger's seat

  • Oklahoma

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 13 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $20

  • Oregon

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    All riders

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $130

  • Pennsylvania

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and over (primary law for riders 8-17)

    In What Seat?

    Riders 18 and over: Front

    Riders 8-17: All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $10

  • Puerto Rico

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 9 and over or 57" and over

    In What Seat?

    n/a

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $50

  • Rhode Island

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $40

  • South Carolina

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 6 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • South Dakota

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 18 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Tennessee

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 16 and over

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Texas

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 7 and under who are over 57"

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    Riders under 17: $200 (driver)

    Riders 15 and over: $50 (driver or passenger)

  • Utah

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    All riders

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $45 (2nd offense)

  • Vermont

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 18 and over (primary law for riders under 18)

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Virgin Islands

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    All riders

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25 to $250

  • Virginia

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    All drivers; passengers 18 and over (primary law for passengers under 18 in all seats)

    In What Seat?

    Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25 (driver ticketed for passengers under 18)

  • Washington

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders over 8 or over 4'9"

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $124

  • West Virginia

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    Riders 8-17: All

    Riders 18 and over: Front

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25

  • Wisconsin

    Type of Law

    Primary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 8 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $10

  • Wyoming

    Type of Law

    Secondary

    Who Is Covered?

    Riders 9 and over

    In What Seat?

    All

    Maximum Fine for 1st Offense

    $25 if in driver's seat; $10 if in passenger's seat