When driving or riding in a car in Ohio, it is helpful to know what Ohio’s seat belt laws are so that you remain safe as you travel throughout the state.
Generally, anyone riding in the front seats of a motor vehicle must wear a seat belt. Anyone age 15 and under must have a seat belt on another restraint in the back seat. However, there are nuances to these laws and how police officers enforce them.
Ohio Seat Belt Laws for Adults
For anyone age 16 and older, Ohio law requires wearing a seat belt whenever the adult is riding in the front passenger or driver seat. Adults do not have to wear the seat belt when riding in the back seat.
They still have the option of wearing a seat belt when riding in the back seat, however, giving them the maximum level of safety in case of a car accident.
Ohio Seat Belt Laws for Children
Children ranging from ages 8 to 15 must wear a seat belt at all times in the car, whether they are riding in the front seat or the back seat, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
If the child aged 8 to 15 is riding in a car safety seat or a car booster seat, the driver should make sure the safety seat attaches to the seat belt properly.
Ohio Car Safety Seat Laws for Children
According to Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.81, drivers must follow a number of rules to keep children younger than age 8 safe in the car. The use of a child safety seat or a booster seat allows the child to receive the proper restraint in the car. An adult seat belt will not fit the child’s body properly, potentially leading to injuries in a crash.
When using a booster seat or a car seat, the rules include:
- Any child under age 4 or under 40 pounds in weight must ride in a child safety seat.
- Children who outgrow a child safety seat should ride in a booster seat until age 8.
- Children taller than 4 feet, 9 inches, do not need to use a booster seat, as they should fit into the vehicle’s seat belt properly.
If desired, children can continue to use a booster seat after Ohio state law says they can stop. Parents should feel comfortable that the car’s seat belt fits the child’s body properly before no longer using a booster seat.
There are Consequences for not Following Ohio’s Seat Restraint Laws
Should you choose not to follow the state’s laws for seat belts or safety seats, you could be subject to a fine.
In Ohio, police officers can’t pull a driver over if they see the driver or someone else in the car is not wearing a seat belt. The officers must pull over the driver for another violation or investigate a car accident before they can issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt.
Fines for Seat Belt Violations
The fine in Ohio usually is around $30 for a driver who is not wearing a seat belt. The passenger’s fine is about $20 for not wearing a seat belt. The driver does not receive additional fines if an adult passenger does not wear a seat belt.
Fines for Car Seat Violations
If the driver does not secure young children in a car seat, the driver could receive a fine for this type of violation. (Police will not fine the children, obviously.)
In Ohio, the fine for not placing a child in the proper booster seat or child safety seat usually will range from $25 to $75.
Losing Points on a Driver’s License
Should you receive a ticket for violating Ohio’s laws regarding seat belts and car seats, you should not lose any points off your driver’s license for this particular violation. You could lose driver’s license points for another violation that accompanied the seat belt ticket, however.
Jeopardizing a Car Accident Personal Injury Claim
If you file a personal injury claim against the car insurance carrier for the driver who hit you, one of the things the insurance company is going to investigate is whether you were following the laws for seat belt use in Ohio.
If you did not follow the seat belt law, an insurer may claim your injuries are worse than they would be had you worn a seat belt. The insurer may try to use this information to show that you do not deserve a settlement. If you are breaking the law at the time of a car accident, you could see your chances of winning a settlement diminish.
After a Crash with Injuries, the Fitch Law Firm LLC is Ready to Help
If you suffered injuries in a car crash, but the other driver’s insurance company is accusing you of violating Ohio’s law by not wearing a seat belt, consider hiring our personal injury attorneys to defend your rights and present your side of the story.
For a free consultation, call the Fitch Law Firm LLC as soon as possible at (614) 545-3930.