Are car seats required in Montana?
At what age should children be in a car seat?
As a driver, it is your responsibility to know and obey all the driving laws in the state.
And, as a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your children.
This is why, here, we’re going to walk you through the Montana car seat laws. Plus, we’ll also talk about seat belt laws for the adults.
With this, you can be both a responsible driver AND parent.
So let’s dive right in!
Car Seat Laws in Montana
As the law states…
“A car seat is required if your child is below 7 years old and weighs less than 60 pounds. A booster seat is required for 8-year-olds that are 4’9 in height.”
When do you use a rear-facing car seat and a front-facing car seat?
The State of Montana doesn’t specify when you should place your child in a rear- or front-facing car seat. However, they do require that you follow the car seat’s manufacturer guidelines on the age and weight of the child.
Car Seat Penalties in Montana
Violating the car seat laws in Montana will subject the driver to a $20 fine. There are no other penalties.
And while it seems that Montana isn’t strict with safety restraints, know that it’s very important that you follow the law even if the fine seems small. At the end of the day, this law is placed to protect your child while in a moving car.
Seat Belt Law in Montana
Montana’s seat belt law is simple — all passengers are required to wear seat belts.
Yes, that includes drivers, front passengers, and back passengers.
Remember, seat belts save lives, that much we already know. But did you know that a seat belt can also reduce the risk of serious injuries?
Seat belts help you stay in your seat whenever there is a collision. So if you are snuggly strapped, your body won’t get tossed side to side, preventing serious injuries.
Seat Belt Exemptions in Montana
Are there people who don’t have to wear seat belts?
Yes, there are. Here are those exceptions:
- Passengers who are riding and operating a vehicle that was manufactured before January 1, 1968
- A person that is medically unable to wear a seat belt. They should have proof written by a licensed physician.
- Operators and passengers of special mobile equipment such as farm tractors, maintenance machinery, concrete mixers, etc.
- Operators and passengers of vehicles that will do frequent stops as part of their official duties.
Seat Belt Penalties in Montana
Just like car seat laws, if you are caught not wearing a seatbelt, you will be fined $20.
A violation of the seat belt law, however, will not result in a moving violation. Also, police officers can’t pull you over just for not wearing a seat belt – you must have another traffic violation committed.
That said, commercial drivers who violate the seat belt laws will get a fine of $60 and 2 points on their driver record.
Importance of Using Safety Restraints
We’ve touched a bit about why safety restraints are important. But here are other reasons why you should always follow the Montana car seat and seat belt laws.
- In 2020, the NHTSA found that of the 23,000 people who died in a car crash, 51% were not wearing seat belts. You increase the chance of surviving an accident if you wear a seat belt.
- You are kept inside the car and not tossed outside (which usually results in fatal injuries) during a collision.
- You avoid getting pushed to the windshield and thus prevent any injuries to your head.
- You reduce the risk of serious injuries to children by 71% when you properly use the right car seat.
- Children are kept in a place that can help the driver avoid distractions while driving.
- Car seats can reduce the type of injury from major to minor as it protects your child from hitting any other object in the car.
Important reminder! A car seat and seat belt will only work well if they are installed and used properly.
A seat belt’s efficacy reduces if you put one strap at the back of the chair. On the other hand, a car seat’s efficacy reduces if it is not installed properly and if you are using a car seat not suitable for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got more questions about the safety restraint laws in Montana? Here are some frequently asked ones to help you.
Are passengers in the back seat required to wear a seat belt in Montana?
Yes, all passengers, regardless of where they’re seated, are required to wear a seat belt in Montana.
Is the seat belt law a primary law in Montana?
In Montana, the seat belt law is secondary.
A primary law means that a police officer can pull you over if they see you not wearing a seatbelt. But in Montana, a police officer has to have another reason, such as a traffic violation, to fine you for not wearing a seatbelt.
When can you place your kid in a front-facing seat?
In general, a child can already be placed in a front-facing seat when they’re 2 years old. However, it’s highly recommended that they use a rear-facing car seat until they reach the limits the car seat manufacturer recommends.
When can a kid sit in the front seat in Montana?
A child can only sit at the front if they are above 13 years old. However, it’s highly recommended that the kid be placed in the backseat.
And those were the Montana car seat laws and seatbelt laws.
If you want to protect your life and the lives of the people you love, following the car seat and seat belt laws is important. Not only do they prevent death, but they also prevent serious injuries from happening.
And who doesn’t want that?
So always choose safety.
You won’t regret it!