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New Jersey Passenger Safety Laws

Published: Jul 28, 2017 in Family Law

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission has put forth significant effort in recent years to increase the safety of everyone on the state’s highways and local roads. It has brought important attention to the need for drivers as well as passengers within the state to buckle up and adhere to important New Jersey passenger safety laws. These laws address the safety needs of both adult and child passengers of motor vehicles traveling throughout the state.

At Bhatt Law Group, our team of car accident lawyers has years of experience helping injured clients obtain rightful compensation due to the negligence of another party on the roads and highways. If you’ve been hurt, a Jersey City car accident attorney from our team can navigate you through the maze of the legal system as well as insurance companies to fight effectively for the most favorable result possible in your case.

Call us today at (201) 798-8000, or use our online form to request a free consultation.

Child Passenger Safety Laws

If you’re a parent, there is not much more important than the safety of your child. Thousands of children in the state of New Jersey travel every day in some type of vehicle, whether it’s in a school bus, van, or automobile. It only takes one moment of distraction by a driver to result in a very serious accident that can severely injure or even take the life of a child.

Updated New Jersey passenger safety laws for children were made effective in September 2015 in order to improve safety for the youngest among us who inherently face risks due to their size and stature when traveling in an automobile.

These new rules, which specifically provide enhanced protection requirements for children riding in cars, are as follows:

  • Children less than two years of age and weighing less than 30 pounds are required to be secured in the back seat of a vehicle in a rear-facing car seat having a five-point harness.
  • Children less than four years of age and weighing less than 40 pounds are required to be secured in the back seat of a vehicle in a rear-facing car seat having a five-point harness until they reach the upper limits of the rear-facing seat, then in a forward-facing child restraint equipped with a five-point harness.
  • Children less than eight years of age and less than 57 inches in height are required to be secured in a rear or front-facing child seat having a five-point harness, or a belt-positioning booster seat.
  • Children less than eight years of age or more than 57 inches in height are required to be properly secured by a standard adult seat belt.

If you’re driving a certain type of sports car, pickup truck, or another vehicle that does not have a back seat, you must secure the child according to the requirements mentioned above in the front seat. However, you are not permitted to secure a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of any vehicle that has a passenger-side airbag which is active. You may do so, however, if you have and use the option to deactivate the passenger-side airbag.

The New Jersey passenger safety laws for children mentioned above have replaced an older set of requirements which were deemed less effective for keeping children safe.

Adult Passenger Safety Laws

The state of New Jersey has also established a number of passenger safety laws for adults. For many years, New Jersey motorists have become familiar with a slogan that says “Click It or Ticket”. They understand there are consequences for not adhering to the requirements to buckle up.

Under previous New Jersey law, adults who sat in a rear seat of a passenger automobile were not required by law to wear a seatbelt. However, that has changed with amended provisions passed by the New Jersey legislature and signed into law which requires any person occupying a passenger automobile to use a seat belt, regardless of whether they are sitting in a front or rear seat.

The offenses differ regarding passengers’ failure to comply based on whether they are sitting in the front or rear seat of the vehicle.

Passengers occupying a front passenger seat who failed to wear a seatbelt may be charged with a primary offense. Officers are free to stop any vehicle in which they see a front seat passenger not wearing a seat belt.

Passengers in the backseat of a vehicle not wearing a seat belt may be charged with a secondary offense. A police officer may not stop the vehicle by simply witnessing a back seat passenger not using a seat belt – the vehicle must have been stopped for another offense, leading to a subsequent discovery of the back seat passenger not wearing a seat belt.

Exceptions to the Adult Passenger Safety Laws

Some exceptions do exist to the above-mentioned New Jersey passenger safety laws for adults regarding seat belt use. Drivers and front seat passengers are excluded from these requirements when traveling in the following types of vehicles:

  • A passenger vehicle originally built with fewer safety seat belt systems than are required to enable the passenger to buckle up
  • A passenger vehicle not required to have a safety seat belt system under U.S. law
  • A passenger vehicle driven by a rural letter carrier of the USPS while in the performance of the duties of a rural letter carrier
  • A passenger vehicle manufactured prior to July 1, 1966

As well, an exception to the law is provided for anyone occupying a passenger vehicle in which the passenger or driver has a written document provided by a licensed physician that states that the passenger or driver is not able to use a safety seat belt for medical or physical reasons.

Contact a Skilled Jersey City Car Accident Attorney

If you have suffered a serious car accident injury due to the negligence of another party, you may be facing significant hardship at the moment in the form of physical recovery and financial responsibilities. Our team at Bhatt Law Group understands how to work with the insurance companies and, if necessary, guide your case effectively through the legal system in order to help you obtain the compensation to which you may be entitled.

If you need help, let’s discuss your case and your options. Contact us today at (201) 798-8000 to set up a free consultation.