The New Jersey seat belt law requires all front-seat occupants of passenger vehicles operated in New Jersey to wear a seat belt. The motorist is responsible for all passengers under 18 years of age. Front-seat passengers 18 years of age and over are responsible for themselves. Motorists with GDL permits or provisional licenses must use seat belts. Additionally, they must require all passengers seated anywhere in the vehicle to use seat belts. (N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2f, 39:3-13.2a, 39:3-13.4)
New Jersey’s seat belt law requires the motorist, front-seat passenger and children under 18 years old to be belted (N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2f). Non-compliance is a primary offense. A police officer can stop a motorist solely for a violation of the seat belt law. The law also expands the definition of passenger vehicle to include vans, pickup trucks and utility vehicles. Under a secondary law, all back seat occupants, 18 years of age and older, are required to buckle up. Under a secondary law, all back seat occupants, 18 years of age and older, are required to buckle up. Unbuckled back seat passengers can be issued a summons when the vehicle they are riding in is stopped for another violation.
The exemptions are any passenger vehicle manufactured before July 1, 1966, a passenger vehicle that is not required to be equipped with seat belt systems under federal law and a physical or medical reason, verified in writing by a licensed physician, that makes the motorist or passenger unable to wear a seat belt. (N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2g)Seat belts can save a life and improve a motorist’s chances of surviving a crash by 60 percent. A motorist’s chances of surviving a collision are three to four times better if he/she is wearing both a seat belt and a shoulder strap. Fastening a seat belt takes only three seconds and reduces the chances of death or serious injury. Seat belts help in many ways, for example:
- They keep motorists and passengers from being thrown from the vehicle in a collision. If a motorist/passenger is held in place, any injury may be less severe.
- They slow a body down with the vehicle. If a vehicle hits something, the vehicle stops, but the person keeps going at the same speed that the vehicle was moving. Hitting the dashboard or windshield at 30 mph is like falling from the top of a three-story building
- They keep motorists and passengers from being thrown
- Belts and straps also keep a motorist in position so he/she can control the vehicle
- Buckle up with both lap and shoulder belts on every trip. (Air bags are supplemental protection devices.)
- Wear the lap belt under the abdomen and low across the hips. The shoulder portion should come over the collarbone, away from the neck, and cross over the breastbone. The shoulder belt in most new vehicles can be adjusted on the side pillar to improve fit.
- Know how to adjust the seat belts and how to release them if motorist’s passengers have to quickly get out of the vehicle.
- Buckle up if riding in the backseat; use center seat belts if those seats are used. Seat belts help prevent riders from falling forward.
- Never put more than one person in one belt.