Seatbelts prevent serious injuries and save lives. When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle in Michigan, you need to understand exactly what the law says related to seat belt use to ensure that you not only keep yourself safe but also avoid any fines. Here, we want to dig into the specifics of Michigan seat belt rules.
How Important are Seatbelts?
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), we can see that 51% of individuals who lost their lives in a vehicle accident in 2020 were unrestrained. This was an increase of 4% from 2019 and a trend in the wrong direction. The NHTSA estimates that seatbelts saved approximately 15,000 lives in 2020, but an additional 2,500 could have been saved if they had been wearing seatbelts.
What Michigan Says About Seatbelts
Michigan has a primary seat belt law. This means that police officers can initiate a traffic stop and write a ticket to motorists solely because they were not buckled up. This is different from how some other states handle seatbelts, where this is a secondary violation, meaning they have to pull someone over for a primary violation such as speeding or reckless driving before they can write them a ticket for not wearing a seat belt.
In the state of Michigan, drivers and front-seat passengers are required to buckle their seatbelts. Individuals in the back seat are not required to wear their seatbelts unless they are aged 8 to 15. Individuals in this age range must wear their seatbelts regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle.
When wearing a seat belt:
- The lap belt and shoulder belt should be secured across the hips and shoulder.
- The shoulder belt should be placed across the middle of the chest and away from the neck.
- The lap belt should rest across the hips and not the stomach.
- The shoulder belt should never be put behind a person or under their arm.
Individuals who do not wear seatbelts in Michigan could face a fine of $65.
There are also requirements regarding child passenger safety in Michigan.
- If a child is younger than four years of age, they have to ride in a car seat in the rear seat (if the vehicle has a rear seating area). If every available row seat is occupied by a child under the age of four, then an additional child under the age of four is allowed to ride in the front seat, but must also be in a car seat. Children in a rear-facing car seat can only ride in the front seat if the airbag is turned off.
- Children must be buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they reach eight years of age or 4 feet 9 inches tall, whichever comes first. A child must remain in a car seat or booster seat until they reach the proper age or height requirement.
If you have any questions about whether or not your car seat is appropriate for your child or if you have installed the seat correctly, take a ride to your local fire department and ask them. Most local departments have car seat technicians on location who can help you install the seat properly.
Adults and older children should always wear seatbelts, no matter where they are positioned in the vehicle. A failure to do so could result in individuals sustaining severe injuries, even in relatively minor vehicle accidents. For severe accidents, seatbelts will most certainly prevent serious injuries or fatality, in which you may find yourself needing the help of a car accident lawyer in Southfield.
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