Massachusetts seat belt laws are strict, provide penalties for people in defiance of them, and specifically cover child restraint devices. These seat belt laws were created to ensure the best possible protection for you and your passengers should you be involved in a car accident. Violating Massachusetts seatbelt laws only results in minor fines, but the injuries that could have been prevented by their use often cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Massachusetts Requires Seat Belt Use
Massachusetts seatbelt laws require anyone operating or riding in a private motor vehicle under 18,000 pounds to wear a properly fastened and adjusted safety belt. The only exceptions to the Massachusetts seat belt law are:
– Children under 12 years of age subject to child restraint laws;
– Operators or passengers in vehicles manufactured prior to July 1, 1966;
– Any person physically unable to use safety belts as designed;
– United States Postal Service employees in performance of their duties;
– Anyone involved in the operation of taxis, liveries, tractors, and trucks weighing more than 18,000 pounds, buses, and passengers of authorized emergency vehicles.
Violation of Massachusetts seat belt laws will result in a fine for any occupant of the vehicle not wearing a safety belt. You will be assessed the fine for every violator 16 years of age or under.
Should you be involved in a car accident in Massachusetts and an unrestrained passenger is injured when they should have been restrained, you may be held responsible for those injuries.
Massachusetts Child Restraint Laws
Massachusetts seat belt laws relating to child restraint laws mandate:
– Every child under 5 years old and weighing 40 pounds or less must be properly fastened and secured by a child passenger restraint;
– Every child between 5 -12 years of age must be properly fastened and secured by a safety belt;
– Every child under 8 years of age must be fastened and secured by a child passenger restraint unless the child is more than 57 inches in height;
– Every child under 13 years of age must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt unless required to be secured by a child passenger restraint.
Massachusetts seat belt laws define child passenger restraints as infant seats, car seats, and booster seats. Every child must be securely fastened-whether in a child passenger restraint or by seatbelt-in a federally approved manner that is consistent with manufacturer’s instructions.
The only exceptions to the Massachusetts seat belt laws as they relate to child restraint laws are:
– Passengers in school bus;
– Passengers in a motor vehicle manufactured before July 1, 1966; and
– Child passengers physically unable to use a conventional child passenger restraint.
Violating the Massachusetts seat belt laws regarding child restraints is punishable by fines, but the violation cannot be used as evidence of contributory negligence in a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit. This does not however, relieve you from ensuring that you and your car’s passengers are properly restrained.
If you are considering filing a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit, it’s important to contact an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled cases similar to yours.