When You’re in Illinois, You Have to Buckle Up; It’s the Law

When You’re in Illinois, You Have to Buckle Up; It’s the LawDrivers and passengers of motor vehicles under Illinois law are required to wear legal restraining devices – i.e., seat belts. Drivers also are responsible to assist passengers who are not able to individually harness a seat belt by themselves. Individuals requiring help may include children, the elderly, and those who are unable buckle up for health reasons.

In Illinois, if you, as a driver or passenger, fail to wear a proper safety belt, you may be charged with a primary offense. Under this scenario, a police officer may stop your vehicle if they see, or reasonably believe they see, a safety belt violation.

According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash statistics for 2016, of the 708 fatally injured passenger-vehicle occupants in Illinois, 38 percent, or 269, were unrestrained at the time of a car crash.

What are the seat belt laws in Illinois?

  • All front seat passengers are required to wear seat belts
  • All passengers below 16 years of age must always wear a seat belt, regardless of their seating position
  • Children under eight years of age must be secured in proper child safety seats or booster seats
  • If the driver is less than 18 years of age, every passenger less than 19 years of age must wear a seat belt at all times, regardless of their position in the vehicle

You can read the full text of the law here.

When the seat belt laws do not apply

Some exceptions to Illinois seat belt requirements exist. The scenarios in which wearing a seat belt while traveling in a motor vehicle in Illinois is not required include:

  • When the driver or passenger has written confirmation from the doctor providing an excuse for medical reasons
  • When the driver is stopping frequently and delivering items from the vehicle, and the speed of the vehicle is not greater than 15 mph between stops
  • When a car is traveling in reverse
  • As a driver or passenger of a motorcycle or moped
  • When traveling as a driver or passenger in a model year 1965 or older vehicle, or a vehicle not required to have safety belts under federal law
  • As a back seat passenger in a taxicab
  • In a car driven by a rural letter carrier

Here’s the truth, though – you can just as easily get hurt in a car going in reverse as you can moving forward. And you can sustain serious injuries if you don’t wear a seat belt in the back seat of your friend’s car or in the backseat of a taxi.

What are the penalties for failing to follow Illinois’ seat belt law?

Violation of Illinois’ requirement to wear safety belt is deemed a petty offense carrying a $25 fine. The fines may increase based on the facts of each case and the number of violations involved. You will also be assessed additional court costs.

Violation of Illinois’ Child Passenger Protection Act carries with it a $75 fine. As a first-time offender, you can complete and instructional course, have the appropriate child restraint system installed, and apply for court supervision.

Violations subsequent to the first offense of Illinois’ child safety seat laws include a $200 fine. Drivers are also not eligible to access court supervision in such cases.

Drivers less than the age of 18 with a graduated license will be given a warning for their first offense. Drivers incurring a second offense or another moving violation within a period of two years will have their license suspended.

If you or a loved one is recovering from an injury caused by the actions of a negligent driver, you can rely on our experienced Chicago car accident attorneys at Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers to provide you with the strong representation you need. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your losses. To set up a free, initial consultation about your case, call us today at 312-600-9585 or send us a message through our contact form.