Understanding the seatbelt and child restraint laws can be confusing. Even those experienced drivers can sometimes forget the laws. Drivers in Washington State have a responsibility to make sure that they stay informed of the safety laws before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Seat Belt Law
In Washington State, as an adult you are required by state law to wear a seatbelt while operating a motor vehicle. There can be a written verification from a licensed physician that states that the operator or passenger is unable to use a safety belt for medical or physical reasons. As written in the RCW 46.61.688, every person over the age of 16 who is either a driver or a passenger in a vehicle is required by law to wear a safety belt in a properly secured manner. If you are the driver of the vehicle you are required by law to ensure that passengers under the age of 16 are wearing a seatbelt or are securely fastened in an approved child safety restraint.
If you violate the seatbelt law of Washington State you could be issued a traffic infraction. If found guilty of the traffic infraction, it will appear on your driving record, however according to RCW 46.61.688 the traffic infraction is not available to insurance companies or employers.
A child under the age of 8 years old and is less than 4 feet 9 inches tall is required to be properly restrained in a child restraint system and it must comply with standards of the United States department of transportation and must be properly secured in the automobile according to the restraint instructions and the automobile automobile manufacturer. A child who is under the age of 13 must ride in the back seat positions of an automobile when back seat positions are available.
Enforcement of the child restraint law is usually done by a visual inspection by a law enforcement officer to determine if the child restraint system has been properly installed and it is the proper system for the child’s age and height.
A driver who violates the child restraint law may be issued a traffic infraction. According to RCW 46.61.687, if a driver that is issued a traffic infraction for violating the child restraint law, that driver may within 7 days from the date of the infraction show proof to the issuing jurisdiction that an approved child restraint system has been acquired. As long as the driver has not had previous child restraint dismissal, the issuing jurisdiction may dismiss the notice of traffic infraction.
Give us a Call
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of receiving a seat belt infraction or a failure to use a child restraint, please don’t hesitate to give Rick a call. He is an experienced traffic attorney and has been handling traffic violation cases since 1992.
If you’ve just been pulled over and would like Rick to represent you - give us a call or send us an email, we’ll get right back to you.
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Image Credit: Smart Kids by Andrew Currie