Buckle Up For Maryland Seat Belt Laws

Buckle Up For Maryland Seat Belt Laws

Though many may still remember the days of climbing into a car, sitting in the front seat and not being legally required to buckle up before heading out on the road, those days are long gone, as seatbelt laws in Maryland have gotten much stricter. This is especially true when it comes to child safety.

Seatbelts Can Get You Pulled Over

Drivers should remember that driving or sitting in the front seat of a vehicle without a seatbelt is a primary offense in the state of Maryland. That means that an officer does not need any other reason to pull you over than to see that you or your front seat passenger are not wearing your belts. This is also true for any passenger in any seat under the age of 16. If you want to avoid the hassle of being pulled over and a potential ticket, you need to be sure that you and your passengers buckle up.

Seatbelts for All

Maryland Seat Belt Laws once allowed passengers, if they were over the age of 16, to ride unbelted if they sat in the rear seat of a car, but no longer. Whether you are sitting in the front or the back of a car going through the state, you must wear a seatbelt. This is not a primary violation, meaning an officer must pull the vehicle over for some other reason, such as speeding, to issue a citation for an unbelted backseat passenger, but it can add to the fine for a traffic stop.

Child Safety

For children younger than 8, the car seat requirement relates to the child's height, rather than age. If the child stands taller than 4'9″, they are required to ride in an appropriate child safety restraint. This may be a booster seat for older children or a car seat for babies and toddlers. Keep in mind, however, that the law requires the safety device be federally approved, so this is one item that parents will want to purchase new or nearly new. Yard sale finds and hand-me-down gifts may not be, or may no longer be, federally approved. This not only risks a possible ticket for the driver, but a dangerous situation for the child. Children between the ages of age 8 to 16 or above the height requirement are only required to wear a seatbelt.

Local Ordinances May Add Other Laws

Various counties, cities and towns in Maryland have their own traffic safety ordinances. For instance, Anne Arundel and Frederick Counties have ordinances that prohibit children under the age of 16 from riding in the bed of a truck. If you live or frequently drive in Maryland, it is a good idea to contact the local authorities to find out what other laws may be in effect in your area.

Prevent Problems: Buckle Up

Obviously, you want to be protected and you want your passengers to be safe in your vehicle. If that isn't reason enough to buckle up, do it to avoid the flustering experience of being pulled over by police and being fined for violating seatbelt laws in Maryland.

Maryland Transportation Code Ann. § 22-412.3 and 22-412.2

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