Seat Belt & Child Safety Seat Laws

Texas seat belt laws require all passengers in the front seat of the vehicle to be wearing a seat belt. Failing to do so is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of $25-$50. This may not seem like much money, but the real costs of not wearing your seat belt can be much greater than the fine.

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In 2006, 90.4% of Texas drivers and passengers reported that they routinely wore their seat belts. This is almost ten points better than the national average of 81%. Texas’ results may be due to the fact that Texas is a “primary” enforcement state, meaning that officers may pull you over if they see you driving without a seat belt. In “secondary” enforcement states, the officer must pull you over for some other traffic offense and may also give you a ticket for failure to wear your seat belt.

\nChildren and Safety Seats
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It is also illegal to drive with a child under the age of five or less than 36 inches tall out of a child safety seat approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This offense is also a misdemeanor, carrying a $100 - $200 fine.

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If you’re a new parent or looking for a new child safety seat, check out this link. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued their 2007 Ease of Use rankings for child safety seats.

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Also, if you’d like to have an official check the installation of your child’s seat, you can consult this spreadsheet, which offers a list of over sixty safety centers and sheriffs offices who will inspect the seat for you.

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Child safety belt use in cars is critically important because of the fragile nature of a child’s body. They may be even less able to withstand the impact of a car accident than adults are. In 2004, an average of five children under the age of 15 were killed every single day in motor vehicle crashes. Another 646 children were injured each and every day.