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Idaho Seat Belt law

Idaho State Law Statue

“Click it, Don’t Risk it” is the saying you will see in Idaho to try to get everyone to follow statute code, 49-673.
Basically, occupants of a motor vehicle of not more than 8,000 pounds and manufactured with safety restraints in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standard #208, shall have a safety restraint properly fastened about his/her body at all times when the vehicle is in motion. 


Fines for Not Wearing Seat Belts in Idaho

  • $10 citation will be issued to all adult violators, 18 years and older, in any seating position
  • $10 citation will be issued to all adult drivers with any occupants under the age of 18 years that are not belted.
  • $10 citation plus court, costs which is a total of $42.50, will be issued to drivers under 18 years old that have occupants under the age of 18 years that are not properly restrained.


Who is Required to Wear a Seat Belt in Idaho?

The answer is simple - everyone has to be in some type of safety restraint.  Infants should be in rear-facing infant seats, children less than 20 to 40 pounds in a forward-facing child safety seat, children 40 to 80 pounds in booster seats.  Children that have outgrown the booster seat, are 80 to 100 pounds, and younger than the age of 13, should wear a seat belt in the rear seat of the vehicle.  Anyone over 100 pounds and age 13 should wear a seat belt when driving or riding in the car.


Child Seat Information

As your children grow, you need to be aware of the different types of car seats that are required.  The booster seat is probably the easiest one to use, but it is not appropriate for children that weigh less than 40 pounds.  Do not sacrifice safety for convenience!  Hand-me-downs do save money, but you should never use a car seat that is more than 6 years old, does not have any of the direction stickers for proper use, or has been in a crash.  To keep children safe you should abide by the following:

  • Rear-Facing Infant Seats – Birth to 20 pounds and under 1 year old.
  • Forward-Facing Child Safety Seats – 20 to 40 pounds
  • Booster Seats – 40 to 80 pounds


If you are a new mother or father, you might feel more comfortable looking at your newborn.  If you want to look at your baby, ask someone else to drive and sit in the back seat!  Never, never put a child’s car seat in the front seat!  The air bag will definitely injury them and even if you can turn the air bag off, it is not safe!  Keep children in the back seat.


Reasons for Using a Seat Belt

The leading cause of death for people 4 to 33 years old is motor vehicle accidents. The Idaho Transportation Department has reported that every day 5 Idahoans are either killed or seriously injured in traffic crashes.  In the past six years, more than two-thirds of those killed in Idaho were not properly restrained.  Are you going to become one of those statistics?  Using seat belts can prevent these injuries/fatalities.  Most people think that 35mph is not very fast.  The force of a crash at 30-35mph is equivalent to jumping from a three story building.  It only makes sense to wear the seatbelt.  I doubt that you would like to be the one responsible for one of your passengers being injured or killed because they didn’t wear their seatbelt.  Before you move the car an inch, your passengers should be buckled in.  

The seat belt prevents the body from being ejected from the car.  It spreads the forces of impact over a wide area of the body that is also the strongest part of your body.  Head and spinal cord injuries are reduced by 85% while using an air bag/seat belt combination.  It does not matter who you are or how good of a driver you are.  Accidents can happen to anyone because you do not have control of other people who might have been speeding, distracted, tired, or drunk.
If you always wear your seat belt, then your children will learn from this example.  Make it a game with younger children – have them be the seat belt police, making sure that everyone getting in the car has their seat belt buckled before it starts moving.  Children are never too young to model exemplary behavior!


Types of Seat Belts

Regardless of the type of seat belt being used, it will only work if it is used correctly.  The lap belt should not be on your stomach.  It is properly positioned if it rests on your hip and pelvis bones 2-4 inches below your waist.  The shoulder strap should rest on your collarbone and fit snuggly across your chest and shoulder.  Some vehicles have seat belt adjusters to help correctly position the belt.  Seat belt extenders can be purchased from local car dealers.

  • Lap – adjustable strap that goes over the waist.
  • Sash – adjustable strap that goes over the shoulder.
  • Lap and Sash – a combination of the lap and sash belt (2 separate belts).
  • Three-point – similar to the lap and sash but is one single continuous length of webbing.  This design helps spread out the energy of the moving body in a collision over the chest, pelvis and shoulders.
  • Five –point harness – found in child safety seats and racing cars.  The lap belt is connected to a belt between the legs and two shoulder belts (5 points of attachment to the seat).  These seats are safer but much more restrictive.
  • Inertia reel – when not in use the belt retracts and is self adjusting by individual passengers.  The retractor reel lets out the strap or pulls it back when necessary.  If an accident occurs the reel locks, which prevents the strap from coming out, and holds the passenger in the car.


How to Use Seat Belts With Children

Children who are more than 80 pounds will have outgrown their booster seats.  This usually happens around 8 years.  Most children are anxious to get out of the booster seat, but resist their pleas.  Do not move them to just a seat belt until they properly fit in the seat. Children can stop using the booster seat when they can sit all the way back in the seat, with their feet on the floor, and the seat belt hitting them across the chest and not the neck.  All children under the age of 13 years of age and less than 100 pounds should ride properly restrained in the back seat.  

Never put a child less than 100 pounds in front of an air bag – injuries could occur when the air bag is inflated!

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