The laws surrounding seat belts have gotten increasingly stricter over the years. Most people remember when you did not have to wear a seat belt when riding in a truck and when it was legal to forego wearing your seatbelt.
Now, all across Georgia, you can see the signs stating “click it or ticket” because people have realized the enormous potential seat belts have for saving lives. Georgia currently ranks 6th in the nation for the number of fatalities for unbuckled backseat passengers. Officers have cracked down on the issuance of seat belt tickets to promote safe driving habits.
Georgia Law on Seat Belts
Each occupant of the front seat of a passenger vehicle shall, while such passenger vehicle is being operated on a public road, street, or highway of this state, be restrained by a seat safety belt approved under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208.
There are certain situations where a person is exempted from having to wear their seat belt. These situations include:
(1) A driver or passenger frequently stopping and leaving the vehicle or delivering property from the vehicle, if the speed of the vehicle between stops does not exceed 15 miles per hour;
(2) A driver or passenger possessing a written statement from a physician that such person is unable, for medical or physical reasons, to wear a seat safety belt;
(3) A driver or passenger possessing an official certificate or license endorsement issued by the appropriate agency in another state or country indicating that the driver is unable for medical, physical, or other valid reasons to wear a seat safety belt;
(4) A driver operating a passenger vehicle in reverse;
(5) A passenger vehicle with a model year prior to 1965;
(6) A passenger vehicle which is not required to be equipped with seat safety belts under federal law;
(7) A passenger vehicle operated by a rural letter carrier of the United States Postal Service while performing duties as a rural letter carrier;
(8) A passenger vehicle from which a person is delivering newspapers; or
(9) A passenger vehicle performing an emergency service.
What is Considered a Passenger Vehicle?
The statute outlines that seat belts are required in passenger vehicles. However, what exactly qualifies as a passenger vehicle. O.C.G.A. §40-8-76.1 states that pickup trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles all constitute passenger vehicles. The statute does not include motorcycles or vehicles designed to carry 11-15 passengers.
The Penalty for a Seat Belt Violation in Georgia:
Although the fine for a seat belt violation is minor in Georgia with the ticket ranging between $15-25, the reality is that wearing your seat belt could be the difference between life and death. Also, failure to use a seat belt can be the predicate offense to a DUI investigation. Once someone is pulled over by the police, he or she risks being investigated for any crime a police officer may observe.
In conclusion, it is in everyone's best interest to wear their seat belt at all times. The benefits greatly outweigh the minor cost of the ticket. If you or a loved one have been charged with a traffic violation, contact the Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorneys at our office today. We will evaluate your case and give you options on how to handle it. Call now for a free case evaluation.