Hawaii Car Seat Laws (Everything You Should Know)

Hawaii Car Seat Laws (Everything You Should Know)

Car seats and seatbelts do more than just strap you in place. They also prevent fatal injuries if you end up in an accident. 

Yes, car seats and seatbelts can spell the difference between life and death. And that’s not even an exaggeration. 

It’s no wonder, then, that the State of Hawaii has implemented strict laws concerning car seats and seatbelts. These laws are placed to make sure that everyone practices safety while on the road. 

Today, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Hawaii car seat laws, as well as the seatbelt laws. 

So buckle up and let’s go!

Car Seat Laws in Hawaii

First up, let’s look at the car seat laws and penalties.

In Hawaii, children below 4 years old are required to be placed in a child restraint system, commonly known as a car seat. As for children 4-7 years old, they’re required to be in a booster seat. 

However, if the child is taller than 4’9” and weighs more than 40 pounds, they are no longer required to use a car seat or booster seat. They can already wear a seatbelt. 

Following that, if your child is not comfortable in a seatbelt yet, then it’s best to keep them in a booster seat for a couple more months. 

Another thing. All car seats and booster seats should follow the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards on child restraining systems. You can read about the standards here. 

Car Seat Penalties in Hawaii

To make sure that every parent follows this law, Hawaii inflicts penalties for breaking it. 

For the first violation, you will be fined up to $100. You will also be required to attend a class on child passenger restraint systems and child safety. 

Aside from taking the class, there are additional fees to pay such as a $50 driver education assessment, a $10 trauma system special fund surcharge, and a $10 neurotrauma special fund surcharge. 

For the second violation made within 3 years of any traffic violation, you will be fined $100-$200 depending on the situation. And again, you’re required to take the same child passenger restraint systems class and pay the same surcharges as in the first violation. 

For the third and subsequent offenses that you commit within 3 years of any traffic violation, you will be fined $200-$500, PLUS you need to take the safety class and pay the surcharges. 

Finally, all violators of the Hawaii car seat law, regardless of the number of offenses made, are required to appear in court. This is usually where they hand the penalties and fees you need to settle. 

But the worse penalty of all is if something bad happens to your child just because they weren’t in a car seat. 

Seatbelt Laws in Hawaii

Hawaii law states that…

Everyone riding in a motor vehicle should use a seatbelt. Whether you’re seated in the front or at the back, you need to buckle up. 

As we mentioned, Hawaii is very strict with this law, making it primary enforcement. This means that you can be ticketed by a police officer if they spot anyone in a vehicle that is not wearing a seatbelt. 

No, an officer doesn’t need a warrant to pull you over. 

All that said, there are a few exceptions to the seatbelt law, these include:

  • Authorized personnel who are riding an ambulance, firetruck, or police car
  • Those who ride mass transit vehicles
  • Those riding a vehicle that was manufactured before seatbelts were invented
  • Passengers who do not have a seatbelt to use due to limited seatbelts available in a vehicle
  • People who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a seatbelt. They should have a medical certificate stating this. 

Seatbelt Penalties in Hawaii

Since Hawaii is strict with the implementation of this law, it’s no surprise that there are big penalties involved. 

If you are caught not wearing a seatbelt, you are required to pay $102 if you’re in Oahu, Hawaii, and Maui and $112 if you’re in Kauai. This fine is for every person not wearing a seatbelt. 

So, for example, if you and another passenger aren’t wearing a seatbelt, you will have to pay double the penalty fee. 

Importance of Wearing a Seatbelt

Seatbelts are useless.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think this. 

But to prove them wrong, here are just a few examples of why seatbelts are important:

  • It reduces the impact of a collision. 
  • It keeps your body seated, avoiding any injury to your spine, head, and neck. 
  • It prevents you from hitting or colliding with other passengers in the car when the vehicle loses its control or collides. 
  • It stops your head from banging against the windshield during a sudden brake.
  • It helps increase the effectiveness of airbags during a collision. 
  • It prevents you from receiving higher auto insurance rates when you are caught by a police officer. 
  • It prevents you from paying a penalty.

As you can see, seatbelts can save lives. 

So there’s no excuse to disobey the Hawaii seatbelt laws. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more?

Then let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions. 

How many points are given if you don’t wear a seatbelt in Hawaii?

There are no points given on your driving record because Hawaii doesn’t have a point system for traffic violations. 

Instead, Hawaii places all violations, infringements, and suspensions on your driving record. 

Should your child be in a rear-facing seat?

Hawaii car seat laws don’t specify if you should place your child in a rear-facing or front-facing car seat. It’s best to check your car seat manufacturer’s instructions to be sure. 

How old should you be to be able to sit in front of a car?

There are no laws on how old you should be to sit in the passenger seat, but it’s highly recommended that children below 13 years old should sit at the back. 


And that was the Hawaii car seat and seatbelt laws. 

As you can see, car seats and seatbelts prevent a lot of injuries. 

We don’t have control over accidents that happen on the road, but wearing these restraining systems will help keep you safe in collisions. 

It will also keep you from paying penalties and surcharges, as well as attending safety classes. 

So now that you know the Hawaii car seat and seatbelt laws, WEAR YOUR SEATBELT!

Or, if you’re a parent, put your child in the proper car seat. 

Be a safe and responsible driver!

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