Seat belt laws have changed rapidly over the past decade and the laws are different depending on which state you’re in.
There are two different types of seat belt laws: primary and secondary.
Primary enforcement laws allow law enforcement officers to pull over drivers and ticket them if they are not wearing their seatbelts. Secondary enforcement laws, on the other hand, only allow an officer to pull over drivers for a separate violation (speeding, headlight out, etc.) and then ticket them if they are not wearing their seatbelts.
New Hampshire is the only state without a seat belt law for adults. All other states have either primary or secondary enforcement laws on the books.
As of April 2010, the following states have primary enforcement laws:
District of Columbia
And these are the states that have secondary enforcement seat belt laws:
The NMA Position on Seat Belt Laws
The NMA has always supported the contention that individuals should retain the freedom and responsibility to make choices affecting their own safety and the safety of their families. While the NMA encourages seat belt use, we do not support mandatory seat belt laws and the intrusive and punitive policies they spawn.
For more information, check out the seat belt laws section of our website.