We all know how important it is to wear a seat belt while driving. It can help you avoid serious injury when you’re involved in a car accident and, in the state of Texas, it’s mandatory to wear a seat belt if you’re the driver or passenger of a car. The Texas law that outlines seat belt use is Sec. 545.413 of the Transportation Code. This law states that:
- It is illegal for anyone to ride in the front seat of a car without having their seat belt fastened
- It is illegal for anyone under the age of 17 to ride in a motor vehicle without a seat belt
- Adults are permitted to use their discretion when they’re a passenger in the back, but a seat belt is always recommended
- Children, depending on their size, are either required to wear a seat belt or sit in a child safety seat
- The driver of the car is responsible for making sure all passengers are secured according to Texas law
The fine for breaking one of the regulations above can range from $25 to $200, not including court costs.
Data on Seat Belt Use in Texas
From 2007 to 2014, the percent of drivers and passengers wearing seat belts fluctuated in Texas. Below is the data for each year:
- 2007: 91.8%
- 2008: 91.2% (0.6% decrease)
- 2009: 92.9% (1.7% increase)
- 2010: 93.8% (0.9% increase)
- 2011: 93.7% (0.1% decrease)
- 2012: 94.0% (0.3% increase)
- 2013: 90.3% (3.7% decrease)
- 2014: 90.7% (0.4% increase)
The percentage has both decreased and increased during this time period, sometimes drastically so. Compared to other states’ data over the same time frame, Texas boasts some of the highest rates of seat belt users. The nationwide seat belt use rate was 87% in 2014, which Texas was well above during all eight years reported.
The Importance of the Seat Belt
While wearing a seat belt can help you avoid a ticket, more importantly, it can save your life. When you’re the driver of a car, it’s your responsibility to ensure that each passenger is properly secured, just as it’s your responsibility to drive as safely as possible to protect them.
If you have received a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, or if you want to strengthen your defensive driving skills, consider enrolling in our defensive driving course. The classes can be completed in person or online, and they can help you follow court orders, reinforce important driving skills, and even decrease your insurance rate premiums.