Seat Belt Laws in North Carolina


In North Carolina, seat belt use is mandatory. There are civil financial penalties that ensue if you do not buckle up and demand that everyone do the same as a condition of their being a passenger in your vehicle. Although the courts will add no points to your insurance or driving records, you could incur an unnecessary financial burden.


  • According to the Highway Safety Research Center website, all children younger than 16 years old must wear a safety belt in North Carolina. Whether they are in the front or the back is irrelevant. You must secure a child who is younger than 5 and weighs less than 40 pounds properly in a child restraint device that meets federal standards at the time of the device's manufacture. It also must be appropriate in terms of the child's weight and height.

    As a driver in North Carolina, you are responsible for the children in your car. This holds true even if the parent herself is a passenger. If the police pull you over, you must pay $25. The North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Safety website adds that you must also pay $75 in court costs.

Vehicles Involved

  • According to the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Safety website, all cars made in 1968 or later and all trucks made since 1972 must have seat belts. These standards are in line with federal law.

Required Restraint

  • You must wear the full restraint system that the seat belt offers. According to the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Safety website, you may not only wear the shoulder belt or only the lap belt. It is also unacceptable to place your belt behind your shoulder or under your arm. This still is true even when the vehicle is equipped with air bags or automatic shoulder belts.


  • Exceptions to the state's seat belt laws. For example, according to the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Safety website, if you have a documented medical condition that prevents you from wearing a seat belt or a note from your psychologist or psychiatrist indicating the presence of a disorder, such as claustrophobia, you are exempt from seat belt laws. In addition, if you make your living as a rural letter carrier or drive some other vehicle in areas where the speed limits between stops is 20 miles per hour or less, you don't have to wear a seat belt. Vehicles specifically meant for agricultural use are also not subject to these laws.

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