Buckling up is always a good safety precaution, no matter where you are. In Michigan, there is a seat belt law in place to help minimize casualties during accidents. The state has a primary seat belt law, so do not be surprised if you get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt.
Michigan’s Seat Belt Law (MCL 257.710e) requires that passengers 8 to 15 must be buckled up whether they are sitting in front or at the back. Drivers and front-seat passengers (no matter the age) must also wear their seat belts at all times.
When Is It Legal in Michigan To Not Buckle Up In The Rear Seat Of a Car?
If you are 16 years old or older, it is legal to ride in the rear seat of a car without your seat belt on. However, those who are 15 years old or younger must be buckled up when riding in the rear seat of a car. Passengers aged 8 to 15 should wear a seat belt, while younger kids are required to use booster seats.
Who Is Required By Michigan Law To Wear a Seat Belt in The Rear Seat of a Car?
Only passengers between 8 and 15 years old are required by Michigan law to wear a seat belt in the back seat of a motor vehicle. Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a child restraint system or booster seat when riding in the back of a car. The same restraint requirements apply in the front seat for both age groups.
Passengers over 16 years of age are not required to wear a seat belt when riding in the back seat in Michigan. However, it is recommended that they buckle up for their safety, even if it is not mandatory.
Can a Child Under 4 Years Old Ride in The Front Seat?
Under Michigan’s Child Passenger Safety Law, children below four years old must ride in the back seat using a car seat if the car has a rear seat. If all the seats at the back are occupied by children under 4, then another 4-year-old child or younger may ride in front using a car seat. If you are using a rear-facing car seat for your child in the front seat, the airbag must be turned off.
Children under 8 or below 4’ 9” tall must be properly buckled in a booster or car seat. Then, they must ride in a seat until after their 8th birthday or when they reach the height requirement, whichever comes first.
Is It Safe Not To Wear a Seat Belt When Riding in The Back of a Car in Michigan?
Not wearing a seat belt in the back seat puts you and the other people in the car in danger. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the risk of a driver being killed in a frontal car crash is 137 percent higher if the passenger riding behind the driver’s seat is unbelted.
A 2015 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 56 percent of passengers riding in the back of a car fatally injured were not wearing seat belts.
Can Wearing a Seat Belt in The Back Seat Save Your Life?
According to NHTSA and IIHS, using lap-only seat belts in the center rear seat reduces the risk of death by 48 percent in cars. In SUVs, pickups, and minivans, it reduces death by 73 percent. Using lap and shoulder seat belts in the outboard rear seats reduces fatalities by 54 percent and 75 percent, respectively.
Do Other States Require Passengers Riding in The Back Seat of a Car To Wear Seat Belts?
According to Governors Highway Safety Association, 39 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia have laws enforcing the use of safety belts in the back seat of a car. Five of these states have primary enforcement for passengers under 16.
Call The Clark Law Office To Learn More About Seat Belt Law in Michigan.
We’d be glad to answer your questions about Michigan’s seat belt law and more. At The Clark Law Office, we have more than 30 years of experience handling personal injury cases. We have helped clients to recover millions of dollars for their injuries. Let us help you, too. Call us at (517) 347-6900 or fill out our online contact form.