It’s common knowledge that wearing a seat belt is the safest thing we can all do as vehicle occupants. They drastically cut down on injuries due to accidents, and those who are injured while wearing a seat belt have less severe injuries than those who don’t wear one. But did you know that Minnesota actually has several seat belt laws for both adult and child passengers? Here’s more on our state’s laws and the dangers of hitting the road without wearing your seat belt.
Important MN Seat Belt Laws
Minnesota’s seat belt laws are pretty straightforward: you must wear one any time you’re in a vehicle. Our state has had a seat belt law since 1986, but the initial law only required the driver and front seat passenger(s) to be buckled up. 23 years later, in 2009, the law was upgraded to a primary law. It now requires that every passenger be belted or in the proper child restraint.
A seat belt ticket can cost around $100 by the time fees are considered. However, this obviously isn’t the worst possible consequence of not wearing your seat belt. The reason full-car seat belt laws have been instituted in 32 states is because a seat belt is your best line of defense against injuries caused by a car accident. When a driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt during an accident, they are likely to be thrown around the vehicle. This can cause traumatic injuries to everyone in the vehicle, not just the individual who wasn’t belted. Additionally, those not wearing a seat belt are often ejected from the vehicle during a severe accident. This often proves fatal. Minnesota’s seat belt laws attempt to prevent vehicle occupants from suffering this tragic fate.
Seat Belts and Car Seats for Children
While seatbelts are an important safety consideration for adults, nothing is more important for kids than the car seat laws in Minnesota. The car seat progression for children goes from rear-facing seat to front-facing seat and ends with a booster seat. Your child should be in the rear-facing seat for as long as possible according to your car seat manufacturer’s instructions. The same applies for a front-facing seat: it’s time to transition to the booster once your car seat’s weight limit has been reached. While the vast majority of children are placed in car seats at a young age, Minnesota booster seat requirements are often disregarded, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Many parents aren’t aware that older children still need to be in a safety seat until they reach a certain height. Some may choose to keep their kids out of a booster to avoid the inevitable tantrum.
The way parents feel about booster seats doesn’t change how harmful a car accident can be for a child, which is why we have booster seat laws to keep kids safe. In our state, a child needs to be in a booster until they are 4’9” tall or at least age 8, whichever comes first. This is because of how severely a car accident can injure a young child, even if they are too big to be in a standard car seat.
Some parents have heard that they shouldn’t let their kids ride in the front seat and are curious about whether there are MN front seat laws. While Minnesota does not have a law prohibiting a child from sitting in the front seat, it is highly recommended that kids under 13 only ride in the back. This cuts down on their risk of injuries from airbags, if they are deployed.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Minnesota
The information in this article is key to minimizing your injuries during a car accident. However, if you’ve been injured in an accident, even if you weren’t wearing a seat belt, another party may be responsible for your injuries. To learn more and explore the possibility of pursuing a personal injury case, contact Sieben Edmunds Miller’s personal injury attorneys.