The Motor Vehicle Safety Act in California is designed to keep drivers and passengers alike safe from harm. It requires anyone who is in a vehicle that is not a limo or a taxi to be restrained with a seat belt. However, there are special rules in place for securing younger children in a vehicle.
The fines that drivers may face when children are not properly fastened according to the law can be significant, so it is important that drivers take time to learn more about these rules and to ensure that any child passengers they carry in their vehicle are properly fastened.
Specific Seat Belt Rules for Children in California
There are several different rules in place regarding seat belts and children in California.
- First, it is important to note that parents are responsible for ensuring that their children are properly fastened if their children under age 16 are in the car with them.
- If the parents are not in the car, the driver of the car takes responsibility and is liable.
- The law states that children who weigh less than 60 pounds or who are under the age of six must ride in the back seat and in an appropriate child seat.
- Older children may sit in the front or back seat, but all are required to be fastened in a seat belt.
The Exceptions to the Law
There are a few notable exceptions to this law. For example;
- Children with a special medical attention who must sit in the front seat may legally do so regardless of their age or weight.
- If the children are riding in a vehicle that does not have back seats or if the back seats face the side rather than the front of the vehicle, children may sit in the front seat.
- In addition, if all of the rear seats are occupied by children under the age of 12, younger children may sit in the front seat legally.
- Keep in mind that children who weigh less than 20 pounds and who are under the age of one may never ride in the front seat if the car seat is rear-facing.
The Penalties for Not Properly Fastening Children in Seat Belts
The penalties for violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act vary based on a number of factors. For example;
- The first offense for a violation of a passenger who is at least 16 years old is $20, and the fine for a second offense is $50.
- However, if the child who is unsecured is under age six or weighs less than 60 pounds, the first offense fine is $100, and the second offense fine with related legal and court fees may be as much as $445.
- If the child is not properly secured because the driver is not able to afford a child safety seat, the court may waive the fine and refer you to a program so that you can obtain a safety seat for the child.
Always remember that a law enforcement official has the right to pull you over and write a ticket if he or she notices that anyone in the vehicle is not in compliance with this law.
The Motor Vehicle Safety Act in California is in place to keep anyone who drives or rides in an automobile in California safe, and the law is strictly enforced for adults as well as children. Drivers are responsible for the safety of any children in their car, especially when their parents are not in the vehicle. That is why it is very important for all drivers to learn more about the laws for child restraint and safety in the state of California.