A seatbelt law is a crucial part of a state’s legislation. Wearing a seatbelt does not require rocket science skills, but as easy as it is, it is one rule that several people break daily. Those who choose to flaunt the law do not only face legal consequences; they stand the chance of losing their lives.
According to the Center for Disease Control, wearing a seatbelt either by adults or children is one way to prevent severe or fatal injuries in a car crash. Georgia takes its citizens’ safety seriously and admonishes them to obey the applicable seat belt law in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A).
What Does the Law Say About Seatbelt Usage?
Under the O.C.G.A.Section 40-8-74.1 (A), Georgia residents must wear a seatbelt when traveling in a passenger vehicle. The latter refers to every motor vehicle, including but not limited to, pickup trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles (S.U.V.) designed to carry ten passengers or fewer.
The law also requires the following persons to use a car seat safety belt at all times:
- Adults aged 18 or older must wear a seatbelt approved under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 2008 while driving or as a passenger in the front seat of a passenger vehicle traveling on a public road, street, or highway in Georgia.
- Every child aged between 8 and 17 must wear a seatbelt no matter where they are sitting in a passenger vehicle.
- All children under the age of 8 must be restrained in an age-appropriate child restraint device or booster seat.
Violations of the above rules mean the vehicle driver will receive a ticket and pay a fine. If the default involves a minor, the court issuing the fine will forward a record of the court deposition of the case of failure to secure a safety belt on a minor to the Department of Driver Services.
How Big Is the Role of a Seatbelt in Preventing Injuries?
Repeating the fact that seatbelt saves lives will never sound like a broken record. According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents remain one of the leading causes of death among people aged 1 to 54 in the United States, with a lack of seatbelt usage playing a vital role.
The center notes that millions of people still refuse to strap down while in transit despite the danger. CDC data show that without a seatbelt:
- A total of 22,697 drivers and passengers in passenger vehicles died in crashes in 2018.
- Over half (51% to 60%) of teens (13 to 19) and adults aged 20 to 44 who died in crashes in 2018 were not wearing a seatbelt when it occurred.
- More than 2.2 million drivers and passengers received treatment in the emergency department of hospitals due to injuries sustained in a car accident in 2018.
The figures show that there is more wisdom in buckling down than in choosing not to. The CDC also listed those who are least likely to obey seatbelt laws as:
- Young adults between the age of 18 and 24;
- Men more than women;
- Adults living in a metropolitan area; and
- Rear seat passengers. They are more likely to injure themselves and drivers or other passengers in a crash.
Georgia Is a Primary Seatbelt Enforcement State
In the U.S., a state can have primary or secondary seatbelt enforcement law. Georgia operates the former, meaning that a law enforcement officer with a clear and unobstructed view of a person violating the rule can stop the vehicle and issue a ticket to the driver.
In secondary seatbelt law enforcement states, a law enforcement officer can only issue citations for non-seatbelt usage when they stop a car for another traffic violation. Primary law enforcement gets more people to buckle up, reducing the risk of injuries and death in a car accident. As of September 2020, 31 states do not have primary law enforcement laws covering all seating positions.
Get Passengers to Wear a Seatbelt
As a driver, you must obey the law by buckling down when driving, but you also have to get your passengers to do so for their safety. You can achieve this by letting them know about the dangers of not wearing the belt and that it is more advantageous. If you have children as passengers, set a good example by buckling down even if you are a backseat passenger, and place them in the middle of the backseat.
For Any Questions About Georgia’s Seatbelt Laws Consult a Car Accident Attorney
If you have questions or doubt Georgia’s seatbelt law, schedule a free consultation with one of our Atlanta car accident lawyers at Calvin Smith Law.