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Comprehensive Guide to Louisiana’s Seat Belt Laws

seat belt in rain

Getting a ticket for a seatbelt violation is a rough reminder of Louisiana’s laws, but it isn’t always clear how exactly to comply. Luckily there are ways of knowing how to abide by the law without first having broken it. 

 

Who Needs to Wear a Seatbelt?

Short answer: anyone who isn’t exempt has to wear a seat belt. This means that it doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or a child, sitting in the front seat or back seat. Everyone wears a seatbelt. This makes the law quite simple to follow. If you’re in the car, you buckle up. If a kid gets in your car, they buckle up. 

There’s a very good reason for this law. Of the 476 statewide passenger vehicle fatalities of passengers over the age of 4 in 2017, it’s estimated that 64% of the deaths could have been prevented had everyone been wearing their seatbelts. Had everyone followed the law, it is estimated that only 171 fatalities would have occurred for passengers over the age of 4. 

 

What Are the Seat Belt Laws for Children?

Children also need to wear seat belts or at least some form of restraint. As of August 1st, the child restraint requirements have been updated.

Children under the age of 2

 Those children under the age of 2 are now required to be restrained in a rear-facing child seat.

 

Children between the ages of 2 and 4

Those children between 2 and 4 are required to sit in forward-facing car seats with an internal harness.

 

Children between the ages of 4 and 9

Those children between 4 and 9 are required to use booster seats.

 

Children between the ages of 9 and 13

Those children between 9 and 13 are allowed to be passengers using only the seat belt as a restraint but are required to sit in the backseat. If the car does not have a back seat, the child is allowed to sit in the front seat.

 

Exemptions to the Seat Belt Laws

Now that we’ve established that everyone is required to wear a seat belt or at least some form of restraints at all times that a vehicle is in operation, we can cover those who are not required to wear a seat belt. This group of people includes:

  • Those distributing mail or newspapers (official delivery professionals)
  • Those driving farm vehicles within 5 miles of their main place of operation
  • Those who are either physically or mentally disabled in a way that makes wearing a seatbelt impossible
    • An officially licensed medical professional must sign off saying the person cannot wear a seat belt
    • A special tag will be provided for the person to display in any car in which they are a passenger
    • You are not allowed to display the tag on a vehicle when you are not a passenger in the video

 

What are the Consequences of Not Wearing a Seat Belt?

Penalties for seat belt infractions are relatively minor, but should still be enough to inspire passengers to wear seat belts at all times. 

  • First offense: $25 fine
  • Second offense: $50 fine
  • Third offense: $50 fine, plus court costs

Non-legal penalties for not wearing a seat belt are far deadlier than any fines, as the injuries sustained during vehicle collisions when one or more passengers failed to use their seatbelt are far more severe, and often fatal than those of the passengers who were buckled up. 

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, whether or not you were wearing a seat belt, contact us at Parker Layrisson Law Firm for a consultation and to get the compensation you are owed.