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Does Maryland Seat Belt Law Only Apply to Front Seat Occupants?

In Maryland, all drivers and passengers are required to wear seat belts regardless of where they are seated in the car. Maryland's new seatbelt law requires that even passengers over 16 in the back seat wear a seatbelt.


• Adult occupants 16 and older must be correctly buckled up in the front outboard and back seat positions. Adults in the front outboard seating positions are primary enforcement and back seat adults are secondary enforcement.

• A person may not operate a motor vehicle unless everyone seated in the vehicle is restrained by a seat belt or a child safety seat.

• If anyone is unrestrained in a motor vehicle, each violator will be ticketed and fined $50. For example, if the driver and two passengers, one in the front seat and one in the backseat, are unrestrained, they will each receive a ticket and $50 fine.

• In the case where neither the driver, nor any child under the age of 16 are buckled up, the driver will receive a ticket for both. All citations are $83 (including court costs).

Who is covered by the law?

• As of October 1, 2013, the law covers all seated occupants in a motor vehicle including front and rear seats. What vehicles are covered under the law?

• Registered in Maryland as Class A (passenger), Class E (truck), Class F (truck tractor), Class M (multipurpose), or Class P (passenger bus) vehicles.

• The same types of vehicles registered in another state. Who is not covered under the law?

• Those who have a written certificate from their doctor stating a medical reason for not using their seat belt.

• Drivers and passengers of Class L (historical) motor vehicles and of vehicles not required by federal motor vehicle standards to be equipped with seat belts.


The Child Passenger Safety law is primary enforcement in all seating positions and states:

A person transporting a child under the age of 8 years in a motor vehicle shall secure the child in a federally-approved child safety seat in accordance with the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions unless the child: is 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller. (TR§22.412.2).

A person may not transport a child under the age of 16 years unless the child is secured in: a child safety seat or a seat belt in all seating positions in all vehicles.

A child younger than 16 years may not ride in an unenclosed cargo bed of a pick-up truck. (TR§21.1121).

Maryland's seatbelt laws concerning drivers, front seat passengers, and backseat passengers under 16 are primary laws. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over if you are driving while not wearing a seatbelt, if one of your front seat passengers is not wearing a seatbelt, or if one of your backseat passengers is under 16 and not wearing a seatbelt, even without witnessing another violation. Maryland seatbelt laws concerning backseat passengers over 16 are secondary laws. This means that an officer can only pull you over if you are committing another violation but can give you a ticket for both the other violation and the seatbelt violation. We handle Maryland's personal injury auto accident cases on a daily basis and we've been doing it for more than 25 years. Call the Law Offices of Uzoma Obi today for a free consult.


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