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Seat Belts and Child Restraints

Seat Belt Safety

On May 20, 2002, Washington Legislature passed a bill making our state's seat belt law a primary offense. As a result, a motorist can be pulled over and ticketed for not wearing a seat belt.

  • Air bags do not take the place of seat belts - a deploying air bag can cause a fatality if the occupant is not belted
  • People who are belted have a greater survival rate in collisions - a belted person has a 70% chance of surviving a crash vs. a non-belted person
  • Collisions are the leading cause of death for children age 4-14 and in 2000, more than half of all children killed in crashes in the U.S. were completely unrestrained

Operator's Responsibility

UW Tacoma Motor Pool, in compliance with state law requires that:

  • The driver and all passengers wear their seat belts at all times - it is the driver's responsibility to ensure compliance with this guideline
  • A seat belt be available for all passengers - the number of passengers in a vehicle must not exceed the number of available seat belts

Child Passenger Restraint Required: RCW 46.61.687

Whenever a child who is less than sixteen years of age is being transported in a motor vehicle that is in operation and that is required by RCW 46.37.510 to be equipped with a safety belt system in a passenger seating position, or is being transported in a neighborhood electric vehicle that is in operation, the driver of the vehicle shall keep the child properly restrained as follows:
  • A child must be restrained in a child restraint system, if the passenger seating position equipped with a safety belt system allows sufficient space for installation, until the child is eight years old, unless the child is four feet nine inches or taller. The child restraint system must comply with standards of the United States department of transportation and must be secured in the vehicle in accordance with instructions of the vehicle manufacturer and the child restraint system manufacturer.
  • A child who is eight years of age or older or four feet nine inches or taller shall be properly restrained with the motor vehicle's safety belt properly adjusted and fastened around the child's body or an appropriately fitting child restraint system.
  • The driver of a vehicle transporting a child who is under thirteen years old shall transport the child in the back seat positions in the vehicle where it is practical to do so.

For more information, please visit the RCW web site