What are Missouri’s Seatbelt Laws?

January 8, 2021Car Accidents

Approximately 68 percent of traffic fatalities involved drivers and passengers who were not wearing seatbelts, according to a staggering statistic given by the Missouri Highway Patrol towards the end of 2020. Even though most Missourians on average buckle up regularly, for those who choose not to, the injuries can be catastrophic if not fatal. Since seatbelts play such a pivotal role in keeping road users safe, it is important for all Missouri drivers to understand the various seatbelt laws enforced by the state. 

Who is Required to Wear a Seat Belt?

Drivers and passengers are required by Missouri law to wear a seatbelt at all times while the vehicle is being operated. It is also the driver’s responsibility to ensure that any passenger under the age of 16 has their seatbelt on. Individuals who are 16 and older are in charge of themselves. Failing to properly use a seatbelt can result in a fine and court costs. In regard to child safety restraints: 

  • Children under the age of 4 years old or less than 40 pounds must be buckled into an appropriate child safety seat. 
  • Children between the ages of 4 and 7 who weigh at least 40 pounds must be buckled into an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat. 
  • Children over 8, or who weigh at least 80 pounds, or are 4’9” or taller, must have an appropriate booster seat or a seat belt. 

The only exceptions to Missouri’s seatbelt laws are: a doctor’s letter stating that a physical condition prevents use of a seatbelt, those riding in an automobile manufactured prior to 1968, postal carriers, vehicles designed to carry more than 10 people, trucks, and cycles, and vehicles for activities related to agricultural work. 

Penalties for Violating Missouri’s Seat Belt Laws

Violating the seatbelt law in Missouri can result in a fine of $10, and $50 plus court costs for violating a child passenger restraint/booster provision. If a driver fails to comply with child passenger restraint laws, and a child is injured, they may face criminal charges. 

Although the dollar amounts of these fines may not seem like much, the ultimate penalty is the increased odds that a crash will result in serious injuries or a fatality if you fail to use a seat belt. The chances of being killed or seriously injured in a crash rise by 45 to 50 percent when you don’t buckle up. 

How Can Failing to Wear a Seatbelt Impact Your Missouri Car Accident Claim?

Missouri is one of 15 states that allows the seatbelt defense. As a result, failure to follow seat belt laws can be used as evidence in a negligence lawsuit to demonstrate that a person’s operation of a motor vehicle fell below the acceptable standard of care. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident and not wearing your seatbelt, you may be held partially responsible for your injuries. 

Speak with a Missouri Car Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you love is injured in a car accident, speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney at Goldblatt + Singer. Call (314) 231-4100 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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