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Spotlight: California Seat Belt Laws



This article will spotlight the California laws regarding use of a driver’s seat belt while operating a vehicle. In 2005, the California “Click it, or Ticket” campaign was launched and law enforcement has since seen a rise in the use of seat belts. An estimated 15,000 lives were saved due to the use of seat belts as reported by the National Highway Council in 2017. So its been proven that the use of seat belts and child safety seats are the top things to do for the survival of yourself and your passengers in the event of a collision.

You can look to the California Vehicle Code, Division 12, Chapter 5: Other Equipment, Article 3: Safety Belts and Inflatable Restraining Systems, Section 27315 for explanation of the laws governing the use of car seat belts for adults.


But here’s all you really need to know:

In the state of California the driver and all passengers in private vehicles must be fastened with seat belts at all times.



The exceptions are passengers in taxi vehicles while the taxi drivers are required to wear their seat belts. Though the taxi must be equipped with rear seat belts for it’s passengers. Exceptions extend to newspaper delivery persons, garbage truck drivers, and those persons whose work would have them frequently enter and leave the vehicle. In addition, those with certain medical conditions may be considered exempt from use of seat belts as well.


Here’s the facts:

While criminal charges may not be filed against a person for not wearing their seat belt, a person that ignores this citation may acquire another violation, as it is a penalty for violating VC 40508, for the failure to appear in court on a traffic citation.



In California, the cost of an adult seat belt violation is $162 while a child under 16 years of age that is not properly restrained is a $490 fine, and if the parent is not in the car then the driver will receive the citation.

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