Seat Belt Law
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Under Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/12-603.1, drivers and passengers are required to wear seat belts.
Additionally, drivers have a positive obligation to help their passengers who cannot put on a seat belt for themselves. This includes children, the ill, and elderly individuals.
Under Illinois seat belt laws, a driver’s or passenger’s failure to wear a proper safety belt is considered a primary offense. This means that a police officer may stop a vehicle if they witness – or reasonably believe they witness – a violation.
Exceptions to the Illinois Seat Belt Law
While the law in Illinois requires those driving or riding in a car to wear a seat belt, there are a number of exceptions to the law. Those exceptions to the seat belt law include:
- When the driver is frequently stopping and delivering items from the vehicle, and does not exceed 15 mph between stops;
- When a driver or passenger has a written note from a doctor excusing him or her from wearing a seat belt for medical reasons;
- When a car is driving in reverse;
- When the vehicle model year is prior to 1965 or the vehicle is not required to be equipped with safety belts under federal law;
- A driver or passenger of a motorcycle or moped;
- A car driven by a rural letter carrier;
- Back seat passengers of taxicabs.
All of these exceptions may be asserted in court as defenses to a charge of failing to wear a safety belt.
Possible Penalties of Failing to Wear a Seat Belt
Failing to wear a seat belt is only punishable by a fine. While an officer may not search or inspect a vehicle solely because of a seat belt violation, once they interact with the driver and passengers, they may find additional reasons to issue citations or make an arrest.
We often see that violations of the Illinois seat belt law are the initial cause for a traffic stop, only to later result in insurance violations, charges for driving on a suspended license, or a DUI.
If you are accused of violating Illinois’ seat belt law, you should speak with an attorney about the charges. At Driver Defense Team we dedicate our practice to helping and defending those charged with traffic offenses in Illinois. Contact us today so we can help you understand what your options are, and what steps you need to take.