State laws mandating the use of seatbelts in cars

(f) In this section: (1) "Child passenger safety seat system" means an infant or child passenger restraint system that meets the federal standards for crash-tested restraint systems as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

4), § 8.01, effective September 1, 2003.] (e) This section does not apply to a person: (1) operating a vehicle transporting passengers for hire, excluding third-party transport service providers when transporting clients pursuant to a contract to provide nonemergency Medicaid transportation; or (2) transporting a child in a vehicle in which all seating positions equipped with child passenger safety seat systems or safety belts are occupied.

On a practical level, citizens have accepted seat belts as part of their driving routine. With regard to efficacy, as the Texas Supreme Court recently noted, any debate regarding the beneficial effects of seat belts “has long ended.” Further, in terms of public policy, a number of states have actually seen fit to expand the duty to wear seat belts. With considerable justification, the Texas Supreme Court described that state’s now-discarded gag rule as “an anachronism” that “may have been appropriate in its time,” but that has become “a vestige of a bygone legal system.” State legislatures in those states where seat belt gag provisions still exist should consider repeal.Utah’s gag rule was included in the Act because, at the time of enactment, the public had not yet fully accepted seat belts and their life-saving ability.The Utah Supreme Court encapsulated the legislative debates leading to enactment: “[The] discussion centered on two issues.Further, many people at that time still questioned the efficacy of safety belts in preventing injuries.This limited appreciation of the benefits of seat belts was compounded by legislators’ resentment at federal intrusion into an area of state authority.

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