According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, the fatality of a car crash is reduced to 45% if you’re wearing a seatbelt.
Likewise, children’s injuries and deaths are significantly reduced if they’re in the right car seat.
So yes, seatbelts and car seats are important.
This is why the State of Georgia implements strict car seat and seatbelt laws.
And this is why, today, we’re going to look at the Georgia car seat laws in detail, as well as the penalties and other information.
What is the Georgia Seatbelt Law?
By law, anyone in the front seat, whether passenger or driver, should wear a seatbelt properly. If below 18 years old, it is required to wear a seatbelt, whether seated at the front or back.
This law is for ALL passenger vehicles that carry 10 people or less. So yes, you have to wear a seatbelt even in a pickup truck.
That said, some front-seat passengers or drivers are not necessarily required to wear a seatbelt. These are those who:
- Frequently stop and leave the vehicle. This is only allowed if the speed of the vehicle does not exceed 15 MPH.
- Are given a medical certificate to not wear a seatbelt due to medical or physical reasons. You should have the certificate with you in case you are stopped by a traffic enforcer.
- Drive a passenger vehicle that was made before 1965.
- Drive a passenger vehicle that delivers newspapers or performs an emergency service.
Even if you do fall under these situations, it’s still always best to buckle up.
What are the Georgia Car Seat Laws?
Now, there are 2 car seat laws in Georgia — one for the parents and one for the vehicle manufacturers.
The first one is…
Every driver who transports a child below 8 years old or under 40 pounds is required to place the child in the right car seat as approved by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
Here are the specifics:
- Rear-facing seat for infants younger than 1 year old or under 20 pounds
- Rear-facing or forward-facing seat for children 1 to 3 years old or 20-40 pounds
- Booster seat for children 4 to 8 years old or 40-80 pounds, and less than 4’9” tall
Once the child is 8 years old and exceeds 4’9”, they can already use a seatbelt. However, they must always be seated at the back and must be able to use the seatbelt comfortably.
If not, then it’s best and safest to keep them in a booster seat for a little while more.
The second car seat law in Georgia states that…
No new vehicle shall be sold in the state if it isn’t equipped with a child restraining system installation.
If it is not equipped with easy car seat installation, then two sets of seatbelts should be installed by the manufacturer before being delivered to the new owner.
What are the Car Seat Penalties in Georgia?
Now, seatbelt and car seat laws in Georgia are primary enforcements.
This means that a police officer can pull you over and give you a ticket if they see that you are not complying with one of these laws.
If you are caught disobeying the seatbelt law, you will be fined $15.
If a minor, below 18 years old, is not wearing a seatbelt, then the driver will be charged a fine of $25.
If a child is below 8 years old and is not in the proper car seat, the driver is fined $50 on the first offense. For the second offense, the fine increases to $100.
On top of these fines, those who violate the Georiga car seat laws will be given 1 point on their driving record.
Importance of Wearing a Seatbelt / Using a Car Seat
You might be wondering, “Why so strict about seatbelts and car seats?”
To answer that, we’re going to look at the importance of wearing a seatbelt and using a car seat.
Here is why you should wear a seatbelt:
- It is the most effective safety precaution for injuries or death during a car crash.
- It keeps you in place. You are not tossed inside or outside the vehicle should anything happen.
- Seatbelts distribute the force through your body, making it less likely to cause injury to a single body part.
- It protects your brain and your spine by keeping you in place.
Need we say more? The fact that a seatbelt puts you in place and keeps your important body parts (brain and spine) intact should be reason enough to wear a seatbelt all the time.
For car seats, here is why it is important:
- Prevents your child from disturbing you while driving.
- Keeps your child in the seat during the crash.
- Prevents serious injuries to your child during a car crash.
- Minimizes the harm a crash might have to your child.
How to Properly Use a Seatbelt/Car Seat
As stated by law, you have to wear a seatbelt PROPERLY.
So let’s quickly go over the proper way to wear a seatbelt.
Put the lap strap right on top of the pelvic bone and the shoulder strap across your shoulders. Do not put the shoulder strap over the backrest.
As for car seats, here are a few tips for properly using one:
- Place your child in the center of the car seat with their head inside the seat.
- Position the straps over the shoulder or below the shoulder.
- Tighten the straps, so they feel snug on the child. To check if it’s snug enough, do a pinch test where you shouldn’t be able to pinch the strap.
- The harness clip should be at armpit level and right in the middle of the child’s chest.
- Do not put a blanket or thick clothing on your baby or inside the car seat unless it’s included.
- If you need to put a blanket on, buckle the child first, then place the blanket over the harness.
That was everything you should know about the Georgia car seat laws.
Remember that these laws aren’t put there just to inconvenience you.
No, it is there to keep you safe at all times.
So because of that, you should always obey the seatbelt and car seat laws in Georgia.
You don’t want to face the penalties.
More importantly, you don’t want to suffer the consequences.
Be a safe and responsible driver!