What Are the Seat Belt Laws in Texas?
Posted in Car Accident on March 29, 2022
When traveling in a motor vehicle, it is important to always wear a seat belt. These restraints significantly reduce the risk of death in the event of an accident, preventing vehicle occupants from being thrown around the vehicle or onto the road.
If you are driving in Texas, you will need to be aware of the state’s seat belt laws and follow these rules carefully. Failure to comply will not only heighten the risk of severe injury in an accident, but you could also face penalties and difficulty recovering compensation for your injuries.
The Dangers of Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Seat belts are very important safety devices. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of the people who died in car accidents in 2019 were not wearing a seat belt. Between 1975 to 2017, experts estimate that these restraint devices have saved 374,276 lives.
Without a seat belt, car accident injuries can be even more severe. Unrestrained drivers and passengers can be thrown around inside of a vehicle during a collision. Sometimes, the impact can send them flying out of the vehicle, resulting in serious and often fatal injuries.
These injuries may include the following.
- Road rash
- Broken and shattered bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damage and bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Facial injuries
Texas Seat Belt Laws
In Texas, every person who is traveling inside of a vehicle must wear a seat belt. Additionally, children under the age of 8 must be placed in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat. Children can begin to forgo booster seats when they are 4 feet 9 inches or taller, but they must be properly restrained.
If you do not comply with these laws, you could face the following penalties.
- Failure to wear a seat belt can result in fines and court costs up to $200.
- Failure to properly restrain a child could lead to fines up to $250 plus any additional court fees.
Texas is a primary seat belt law state, meaning they enforce the ability for an officer to ticket a passenger for not wearing a seat belt.
How Failure to Wear a Seat Belt Could Impact Your Accident Claim
Whenever you are riding in a vehicle, it is important to buckle up. Not only is this necessary to comply with Texas laws, but failure to wear a seat belt could impact your ability to recover compensation after the accident.
In Texas, drivers who are injured in a car accident have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the motorist responsible for the collision. Through a car accident claim, you could recover compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and many other losses.
If you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, however, you could encounter challenges during your claim. The insurance company may believe that you are partially liable for your injuries, stating that you did not comply with Texas seat belt laws. The at-fault driver’s attorney could ask the court to reduce your award during a lawsuit, citing Texas’s comparative negligence rules.
Do I Need an Attorney for my Case?
In these situations, you need an attorney on your side who can advocate for your interests and fight for your right to maximum compensation. As soon as possible following your accident, contact a personal injury lawyer in McAllen who can defend you against these accusations and craft a compelling case in your favor.