For years the ‘Buckle Up’ ad campaign has reminded us to wear our seat belts. In 1985, the Ad Council and the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration introduced us to Vince and Larry, a couple of crash test dummies who showed us in slow motion the devastating events that take place during a car crash. This lovable pair told us over and over, “You can learn a lot from a dummy…Buckle your safety belt.”
OLD LAW: According to the Department of Transportation, an estimated 29,568 lives were saved by safety belts from 1983 to 1991. Texas enacted its mandatory seatbelt law for front seat passengers in 1985. However, after determining that in 1998 at least 104 children from birth to eight years of age were killed that year as passengers in motor vehicles on Texas roadways, Texas enacted a law in 2001 requiring all children under 5 years of age and under 36 inches tall to be secured in a child passenger safety seat while in a moving vehicle.
NEW LAW: Readers should be aware the old 1985 law requiring adults to wear seat belts only in the front seat has changed dramatically. As of September 1st, 2009, under Chapter 545 of the Texas Transportation Code, a new law enacted by the 81st legislature as House Bill 537, requires every person riding in a motor vehicle, no matter their age, to be secured by a seat belt, no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. This means that adults sitting in the back seat must wear a seat belt or risk receiving a traffic ticket. Drivers of the vehicle may also be cited for failing to ensure everyone in the vehicle is wearing the proper safety restraint.
FINE: A number of law enforcement agencies have given out only warning tickets in an effort to give citizens time to comply with the new law, but DPS has indicated it will begin issuing citations with fines as of June 1st, 2010. Violation of this law is a misdemeanor and carries with it a fine of not more than $25 for the first offense and not more than $250 for a second or subsequent offense.
While the fines for failing to follow seat belt laws don’t seem particularly heavy handed, citations for alleged violation of these laws are difficult to argue your way out of in court. Infractions are also severely frowned upon by judges and auto insurance carriers. Don’t be a dummy….buckle up Bexar County!
CONTACT US: If you need assistance with a traffic ticket or seatbelt citation, call attorney Justin Coquat at The Coquat Law Firm. Justin Coquat has helped numerous individuals fight their speeding tickets and protect their driving record in Bexar County, San Antonio Municipal Court, Schertz, Selma, Live Oak, Universal City, Alamo Heights and sourrounding areas. For questions or a free consultation, call 210-745-2825.