Motor Vehicle Accidents

Are Seat Belts Required by Kansas Law?

We’re all told as soon as we get in a car to put on our seat belts, and we know that they are intended to keep us safe when we’re out on the road. Seat belt usage in serious car accidents has been proven to prevent occupants of vehicles from suffering deadly injuries or being ejected from their vehicle during a collision.

But if we know that seat belts keep us safe in our cars, why do some people not use them and are seat belts required by Kansas law?

We’ll discuss the details of Kansas seat belt laws and the dangers and fines associated with not wearing your safety belt.

Keeping Yourself Safe by Using a Safety Restraint

Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that when the correct lap and shoulder belts are used it reduces the risk of fatal injuries to front-seat car occupants by 45%. Occupants in the front seats of vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs are 60% less likely to suffer fatal injuries when wearing a lap and shoulder belt correctly.

Given these statistics, it’s easy to see that seat belts save lives. But what does the law say?

According to Kansas statute 8-2503, every occupant of a passenger car or an autocycle 14 years of age or older is required to have a safety belt properly fastened at all times while the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, statute 8-1344 states that all children under the age of eight must be in a federally approved child safety seat or booster seat, depending on their age, height, and weight. Children aged eight to 13 must be protected by a safety belt but are not required to be in a car seat or booster seat.

This means that all vehicle occupants in Kansas, no matter their age, are required by law to wear a safety belt at all times while a vehicle is in motion.

What Happens if You Violate Kansas Seat Belt Laws

The Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office (KTSRO) previously published a 2022 Adult Safety Belt Observational Study. The study’s authors found that an average only 87% of all drivers in the state used their seat belts while behind the wheel. The national average of seat belt use was 91.6% in 2022.

Seat belt requirements are primary laws in our state, meaning that any law enforcement officer can pull you over and issue you a citation for not wearing this safety restraint. Law enforcement officers can also issue citations to any other occupants of your vehicle, regardless of whether they are in the front or back seats of the vehicle, if they are not in compliance with the law.

However, the subsection of the previously cited statute 8-2503 states that law enforcement officers cannot issue citations to backseat occupants if there are no other violations of the law occurring. For example, if your back seat passenger is not wearing their seat belt, but you are, and a police officer pulls you over but cannot find any traffic violation to cite you (the driver) for, they are not legally allowed to issue a citation only to your passenger.

Fines for Safety Restraint Violations

Any occupant of a passenger vehicle older than 18 who is found to be in violation of Kansas seat belt laws can be fined $30 and no court costs. If there are children from 14 to 18 years of age who are found to be in violation, the fine is $60 and no court costs.

Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to keep yourself safe during a car crash. When you make the choice not to use your seat belt, you’re not only endangering yourself but the lives of others inside your vehicle as well. The previously referenced NHTSA data shows that seat belts saved the lives of approximately 14,955 people in 2017 and could have saved 2,549 more if they had been wearing their seat belts.

If you need legal help after a car accident, our attorneys at Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska LLC are happy to assist. We understand that the law can sometimes be complicated and we want you to know that we’re here to help you and those around you to stay safe out on the road.

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Our highly qualified and compassionate team is available to listen and evaluate your case. We do not charge any fees unless we win. Call us at (800) 266-0036 to get started!

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