Safety Belts

23 V.S.A. § 1259. Safety belts; persons age 18 and over

(a) The operator of a motor vehicle shall be guilty of a violation of this section if any person 18 years of age and older is occupying a seating position which has been manufactured with a federally approved safety belt system and is not restrained by the safety belt system while the motor vehicle is in motion on a public highway.

(b) A person is required to be restrained in a safety belt system unless:

(1) the person is a rural mail carrier of the United States Postal Service operating a motor vehicle in the performance of employment;
(2) the person is a driver or passenger frequently stopping and leaving the motor vehicle or delivering property from the motor vehicle, if the speed of the motor vehicle between stops does not exceed 15 miles per hour;
(3) the person is the operator of any farm tractor;
(4) the person is a member of the emergency personnel of an emergency motor vehicle and finds it necessary to be unrestrained in order to perform his or her duties;
(5) the motor vehicle the person is occupying is a bus or taxi;
(6) the person is required to be restrained under section 1258 of this title; or
(7) the person has been ordered by an enforcement officer, a firefighter, or an authorized civil authority to evacuate persons from a stricken area.

(c) Noncompliance with the provisions of this section shall not be admissible as evidence in any civil proceeding.

(d) Failure to wear a safety belt in violation of this section shall not constitute negligence or contributory negligence in any civil proceeding or criminal action, nor be entered as evidence to bar prosecution of a criminal offense.

(e) This section may be enforced only if a law enforcement officer has detained the operator of a motor vehicle for a suspected violation of another traffic offense. An operator shall not be subject to the penalty established in this section unless the operator is required to pay a penalty for the primary offense.

(f) The penalty for violation of this section shall be as follows:

(1) $25.00 for a first violation;
(2) $50.00 for a second violation;
(3) $100.00 for third and subsequent violations.

Child Restraint Systems

23 V.S.A. § 1258. Child restraint systems; persons under age 18
(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, other than a type I school bus, in this state upon a public highway unless every occupant under age 18 is properly restrained in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 571.213 (1993) or a federally-approved safety belt, as follows:

(1) all children under the age of one, and all children weighing less than 20 pounds, regardless of age, shall be restrained in a rear-facing position, properly secured in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system, which shall not be installed in front of an active air bag;
(2) a child weighing more than 20 pounds, and who is one year of age or older and under the age of eight years, shall be restrained in a child passenger restraining system; and
(3) a child eight through 17 years of age shall be restrained in a safety belt system or a child passenger restraining system.

(b) A person shall not be adjudicated in violation of this section if:

(1) the motor vehicle is regularly used to transport passengers for hire except a motor vehicle owned or operated by a child care facility;
(2) the motor vehicle was manufactured without safety belts; or
(3) the person has been ordered by an enforcement officer, a firefighter, or an authorized civil authority to evacuate persons from a stricken area.

(c) The penalty for violation of this section shall be as follows:

(1) $25.00 for a first violation;
(2) $50.00 for a second violation;
(3) $100.00 for third and subsequent violations.

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Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05603-0001

Monday-Friday: 7:45am-4:30pm
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