Seat Belt Laws

Texas Seat Belt Laws

Texas seat belt laws are described in Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 545. These sections of the law govern the use of car seat belts for adults and children. Below you can find our quick breakdown of Texas seat belt laws for all passengers.

What are the car seat belt laws in Texas?

  1. In the state of Texas, all front seat passengers must always wear a seat belt.
  2. Passengers over 17 are not required to wear safety belts when seated behind driver.
  3. Passengers under the age of 17 must always wear seatbelts regardless of seating position.
  4. Children over 13 years old may be seated in front seats.
  5. Children 4-8 years old must be restrained in booster seats (unless over 4 feet 9 inches).
  6. Children under 4 but over 2 years of age may use forward-facing child safety seats (if seat manufacturer recommends or permits).
  7. Children under 2 years old must be seated in rear-facing child safety seats.

Other seat belt regulations:

  • Child safety seat laws do not apply when transporting children in vehicles where all safety seats are occupied.
  • Back seat passengers do not need to be restrained if vehicle has no safety belts in those seats.
  • Seat belt laws do not apply to farm vehicles under 48,000 pounds.
  • Texas also allows medical exemptions from seat belt laws. You will require a written statement from a licensed physician stating medical reasons why person is unable to wear a safety belt.
  • Persons under 18 years old are not allowed to ride in open bed of trucks or trailers.

Texas seat belt laws sources and references:

  1. Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 545, § 545.412. Child Passenger Safety Seat Systems; Offense.
  2. Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 545, § 545.413. Safety Belts; Offense

See also Section 545.4121 for potential court dismissals, and Section 545.414 for riding in open beds offenses.

Additionally see our article about Child Passenger Safety Seat Laws for more information on requirements, regulations and penalties for child restraint systems.

Penalties

How much is a ticket for seat belt in Texas? Not wearing a safety belt in Texas results in up to $25 to $250 fine, plus additional costs.

Passengers over 17 years of age will have to pay $25 to $50. Improperly restrained passengers under age 17 who are violating Texas seat belt laws are looking at a misdemeanor with higher fines ranging from $100 to $250. For passengers under 17, vehicle driver is responsible for paying fines.

Additional court costs depend on your city or county. Judge may also order you to complete a 4-hour driving safety course, incurring additional costs.

Young people or children under 18 driving in open-bed of a pickup truck are also in violation of Texas safety seat laws and liable for $25 to $200.

If you violate Texas child passenger safety laws, you can purchase a child safety seat within 10 days of receiving a traffic ticket, in which case you can reduce your total fine. This is only valid if you were not issued another citation at the same time or weren’t involved in an accident.

Do you need seat belts or safety restraints?

  • Wearing a seat belt increases your chance of surviving a car crash by 45%.
  • Child safety seats reduce the risk of death by 71% for babies and 54% for toddlers.
  • Children in booster seats are 59% less likely to be injured in a car accident.

Not being properly restrained is undoubtedly dangerous. For the safety of yourself and your passengers, buckle up!

This article about Texas Seat Belt Laws was last updated in 2019. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!