Washington State Seat Belt Laws

Wearing a seatbelt is an easy way to protect against unnecessary injuries in the event of an accident. I see the dramatic effects wearing a seat belt can have in minor and serious auto accidents. In Washington State, the use of a seatbelt has been shown to reduce the risk of fatal injuries in an auto accident by 45% for adults and 71% for infants under the age of 1.

In June of 2002 Washington State made not wearing a seatbelt as an adult and/or not properly restraining a child in your vehicle a primary offense, punishable with a fine up to $124 per person. So here is the scoop on how to stay safe in your vehicle and how to keep from getting a ticket for not putting on your seatbelt.

  • Every person riding in a vehicle needs to be properly restrained.
  • The driver is responsible for every occupant under the age of 16.
  • Using a seatbelt for 2 people, putting the shoulder part under your arm or behind your back will result in a fine.
  • Children under the age of 8, unless they are 4’9” tall, must use proper child restraints. (For more information on child seatbelt safety please click on the preceding link)

Following these simple steps will not only save you $124 but it could potentially save your life! To read the entire Washington State seatbelt law, check out The Safety Restraint Coalition, where you can also read amazing stories about how seatbelts can save lives.

But just wearing a seatbelt won’t guarantee you protection if you don’t know how to properly put a seatbelt on. Make sure that when you put on your seatbelt you follow these 3 simple guidelines:

  1. The shoulder belt should be across the middle of your chest and lay on your shoulder away from your neck.
  2. The lap belt should be across your hips and below your stomach.
  3. Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. You can drastically reduce the effectiveness of your seatbelt by doing this.

Washington State Patrol will give you a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt, and even though it will not go to your insurance company as an offense it will show up on your personal record. Seat belts save more than 13,000 lives nationwide every single year, and they are the most effective way to protect yourself and your passengers.

For more information about seatbelt safety for adults and children check out the NHTSA website.