Each year, more than 3,000 people are killed in traffic crashes and more than 80,000 are injured in Texas. An estimated 3% of the fatalities are children.
Using a seat belt is the single most effective way to save your life and reduce injuries in case of a crash. Seat belts greatly increase the survival rate for drivers and passengers. For children, a booster seat should be used instead.
In a crash, unrestrained persons are often thrown out of the car or thrown around inside – resulting in serious or fatal injuries. According to the NHTSA, seat belts will reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by at least 50%.
It’s vital that you follow the Texas seat belt laws to avoid a tragedy for you or your loved ones.
Seat belts aren’t designed to protect small bodies. Children must, by law, be secured in an appropriate child restraint system that meets the federal standards. What is appropriate depends on the size and body of the child – in fact, properly used booster seats could save up to 70% of the children who are killed while unrestrained.
The Texas child seat belt laws outline the requirements and restrictions imposed when driving with a child in the vehicle.
Here are the general guidelines:
Always refer to your specific child seat manufacturer’s instructions for what seat to use at which age and size, and how to correctly place the car seat. Furthermore, the car seat manufacturer may have other recommendations that must be followed.
The back seat is safer for all children as the explosive power of the passenger airbag can fatally injure a child. Children in rear-facing restraints must, according to The National Safety Council, NEVER ride in the front seat if the vehicle has an active passenger-side airbag.
The Texas seat belt safety laws are more restrictive compared to many other U.S. states. The driver and all passengers, regardless of age and seating position, must use a seat belt if occupying a seat with a safety belt. Each seat belt violation can result in a fine between $25 to $250, in addition to court costs.
In some circumstances wearing a seat belt may be very difficult, extremely inconvenient, or near impossible, such as for medical reasons or postal workers delivering the post. Therefore, there are certain exemptions to the law.
The exemptions include:
If you are a passenger in a vintage vehicle without seat belts, you may also be exempt depending on the speed you are traveling at and the age of the car. Look up your local jurisdiction to see what your local safety belt law says.
Seat belts come with a lap part and a shoulder strap, and both must be worn to get the best protection in a crash. Seat belts are the most effective when they:
In a crash, incorrectly worn seat belts may cause neck, chest, and abdominal injuries.
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