Does Connecticut require you to wear a seatbelt?
What are the car seat laws for children?
Are these laws primary or secondary enforcements?
We’re going to answer all your seatbelt/car seat law questions in this article!
After reading this Connecticut car seat laws guide for 2023, you’ll know everything you need to know, including:
- Seatbelt laws
- Car seat laws
- Penalties for breaking these laws
- Misconceptions about seatbelts
So without further ado, let’s get into it!
What is the Connecticut Seatbelt Law?
Here are the seatbelt laws in Connecticut that you MUST comply with:
- Drivers and front-seat passengers are required to wear seat belts.
- Drivers who are aged 16 and 17 are required to wear seat belts. The people riding with them must also wear seatbelts even if they’re not sitting at the front.
- If your seatbelt has a 2-part system, be sure to wear the straps for the shoulders and the lap.
- Seatbelts are required even if your vehicle has an airbag.
If you notice, the seatbelt laws are almost common sense. However, the Connecticut DMV chose to specify these laws so that there are no gray areas when it comes to when you should wear a seatbelt.
What are the Connecticut Car Seat Laws?
Because children are more at risk during collisions and/or accidents, the car seat laws in Connecticut are a bit more specific.
Here’s a table that will show you the car seat rules that apply depending on the child’s weight or age:
|Age or Weight||Car Seat Requirements|
|Under 2 years old or less than 30 pounds||Rear-facing car seat|
|2-4 years old or weighing 30-39 pounds||Rear-facing or forward-facing car seat|
|5-7 years old or weighing 40-59 pounds||Rear-facing or forward-facing car seat, or a booster seat secured by a seatbelt. If using a booster seat, it should be strapped by both the lap and the shoulder seatbelt.|
|8-15 years old or weighing greater than or equal to 60 pounds||Child restraint or seatbelt|
To know which car seat requirement you should follow, always base it on the child’s weight. For example, if your child is 5 years old but weighs 38 pounds, it should follow the car seat requirement for 30-39-pound children.
What are the Penalties?
Just like any law in Connecticut, you have to face certain penalties if you don’t follow the seatbelt and car seat laws.
Let’s look at the penalties for each law.
Penalties for Breaking Seatbelt Laws in Connecticut
A $50 fine will be given to someone that is 18 years old or above who doesn’t obey the seatbelt laws. If you are under 18 years old, the fine is higher at $75.
Now, Seatbelt penalties do not add points to your driving record. However, there will still be a record of the infraction.
Side note: More infractions in your record could signal your car insurance company that you are not a defensive driver, making your premium higher or your insurance not approved altogether.
And yes, seatbelt laws are considered primary enforcements. This means that a traffic enforcer can stop and ticket you if they see you disobeying this law.
Penalties for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Connecticut
Breaking car seat laws come with bigger penalties. This is because you are endangering a child.
For the first violation of any car seat law, you will be given an infraction in your driving record. There is no fine for the first violation yet. However, you will be required to attend a child car seat safety course approved by the state.
For the second violation, there will be a fine of $199. And depending on the case, it will also be recorded as an infraction. Like the first violation, you will be asked to take a state-approved course for child car seat safety.
On the third violation, non-compliance with the car seat laws will be considered a Class A misdemeanor. This means a third violation is equivalent to committing a crime.
Just like seatbelt laws, car seat laws are primary laws. So there is no escaping if you are spotted by a traffic enforcer.
Misconceptions About Seatbelts
There are people that refuse to wear seatbelts because of some misconceptions about them.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions and the reasons why they are not true:
- “Seatbelts can trap you inside a car” – It takes milliseconds for you to unclasp a safety belt. The purpose of the seatbelt is to ensure you are not gravely injured to still be able to get out of the vehicle.
- “If I am hit by a car, it’s better to be thrown away from the incident than being trapped by a seatbelt” – Getting thrown out of a car will cause more injuries when you hit the ground or any nearby vehicle. Not to mention, you will most likely hit the windshield or the car door on your way out.
- “I don’t need to wear a seat belt if I’m just driving around town” – Even if you are used to the roads, there is no saying when an accident might occur. It is better to be safe than sorry.
- “I can brace myself when the car is hit” – We may think this way, but an impact to the car might involuntarily force your body to move in a certain direction. A seatbelt will help you stay in your position and not get injured by the sudden impact of a vehicle.
So those were the Connecticut seatbelt and car seat laws.
It’s a must to comply with these laws…
Not only to avoid the penalties but to ensure everyone’s safety.
So whether you’re going for a long road trip or just a 5-minute drive to the pizza store, you have to WEAR YOUR SEATBELT AND USE THE CAR SEAT.
Don’t let the seatbelt misconceptions convince you that it isn’t needed or useful.
Yes, these belts can save lives!
Why risk lives when you can simply strap the belt and secure your child in a car seat?