Georgia's Seat Belt Laws

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TITLE 40.  MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC  
CHAPTER 8.  EQUIPMENT AND INSPECTION OF MOTOR VEHICLES  
ARTICLE 1.  EQUIPMENT GENERALLY  
PART 4.  HORNS, EXHAUST SYSTEMS, MIRRORS, WINDSHIELDS, TIRES, SAFETY BELTS, ENERGY ABSORPTION SYSTEMS

O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76.1  (2011)

§ 40-8-76.1.  Use of safety belts in passenger vehicles

(A) As used in this Code section, the term "passenger vehicle" means every motor vehicle, including, but not limited to, pickup trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles, designed to carry ten passengers or fewer and used for the transportation of persons; provided, however, that such term shall not include motorcycles; motor driven cycles; or off-road vehicles or pickup trucks being used by an owner, driver, or occupant 18 years of age or older in connection with agricultural pursuits that are usual and normal to the user's farming operation.

(B) Each occupant of the front seat of a passenger vehicle shall, while such passenger vehicle is being operated on a public road, street, or highway of this state, be restrained by a seat safety belt approved under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208.

(C) The requirement of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply to:
          1. A driver or passenger frequently stopping and leaving the vehicle or delivering property from the vehicle, if the speed of the vehicle between stops does not exceed 15 miles per hour;
          2. A driver or passenger possessing a written statement from a physician that such person is unable, for medical or physical reasons, to wear a seat safety belt;
          3. A driver or passenger possessing an official certificate or license endorsement issued by the appropriate agency in another state or country indicating that the driver is unable for medical, physical, or other valid reasons to wear a seat safety belt;
          4. A driver operating a passenger vehicle in reverse;
          5. A passenger vehicle with a model year prior to 1965;
          6. A passenger vehicle which is not required to be equipped with seat safety belts under federal law;
          7. A passenger vehicle operated by a rural letter carrier of the United States Postal Service while performing duties as a rural letter carrier;
          8. A passenger vehicle from which a person is delivering newspapers; or
          9. A passenger vehicle performing an emergency service. 

(D) The failure of an occupant of a motor vehicle to wear a seat safety belt in any seat of a motor vehicle which has a seat safety belt or belts shall not be considered evidence of negligence or causation, shall not otherwise be considered by the finder of fact on any question of liability of any person, corporation, or insurer, shall not be any basis for cancellation of coverage or increase in insurance rates, and shall not be evidence used to diminish any recovery for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance, occupancy, or operation of a motor vehicle.

(E) 1. Except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, a person failing to comply with the requirements of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not be guilty of any criminal act and shall not be guilty of violating any ordinance. A violation of this Code section shall not be a moving traffic violation for purposes of Code Section 40-5-57.
       2. A person failing to comply with the requirements of subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of the offense of failure to wear a seat safety belt and, upon conviction thereof, may be fined not more than $15.00; but, the provisions of Chapter 11 of Title 17 and any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the costs of such prosecution shall not be taxed nor shall any additional penalty, fee, or surcharge to a fine for such offense be assessed against a person for conviction thereof. The court imposing such fine shall forward a record of the disposition of the case of failure to wear a seat safety belt to the Department of Driver Services
       3. Each minor eight years of age or older who is an occupant of a passenger vehicle shall, while such passenger vehicle is being operated on a public road, street, or highway of this state, be restrained by a seat safety belt approved under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208. In any case where a minor passenger eight years of age or older fails to comply with the requirements of this paragraph, the driver of the passenger vehicle shall be guilty of the offense of failure to secure a seat safety belt on a minor and, upon conviction thereof, may be fined not more than $25.00. The court imposing such a fine shall forward a record of the court disposition of the case of failure to secure a seat safety belt on a minor to the Department of Driver Services.
 
(F) Probable cause for violation of this Code section shall be based solely upon a law enforcement officer's clear and unobstructed view of a person not restrained as required by this Code section. Noncompliance with the restraint requirements of this Code section shall not constitute probable cause for violation of any other Code section.

§ 40-8-76.  Safety belts required as equipment; safety restraints for children four years of age or younger

(A) No new private passenger automobile manufactured after January 1, 1964, shall be sold to the general public in this state unless such automobile shall be equipped with two sets of safety belts for the front seat thereof. The safety belts may be installed by the manufacturer prior to delivery to the dealer, or they may be installed by the dealer.

(B) 1. Every driver who transports a child under eight years of age in a passenger automobile, van, or pickup truck, other than a taxicab as defined by Code Section 33-34-5.1 or a public transit vehicle as defined by Code Section 16-5-20, shall, while such motor vehicle is in motion and operated on a public road, street, or highway of this state, provide for the proper restraint of such child in a child passenger restraining system appropriate for such child's height and weight and approved by the United States Department of Transportation under provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 in effect on January 1, 1983, or at the time of manufacture, subject to the following specific requirements and exceptions:
          a. Any such child weighing at least 40 pounds may be secured by a lap belt when:
                    (i)The vehicle is not equipped with both lap and shoulder belts; or
                    (ii) Not including the driver's seat, the vehicle is equipped with one or more lap and shoulder belts that are all being used to properly restrain other children;
          b. Any such child shall be properly restrained in a rear seat of the motor vehicle consistent with the requirements of this paragraph. If the vehicle has no rear seating position appropriate for correctly restraining a child or all appropriate rear seating positions are occupied by other children, any such child may be properly restrained in a front seat consistent with the requirements of this paragraph;
          c. A driver shall not be deemed to be complying with the provisions of this paragraph unless any child passenger restraining system required by this paragraph is installed and being used in accordance with the manufacturer's directions for such system; and
          d. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply when the child's parent or guardian either obtains a physician's written statement that a physical or medical condition of the child prevents placing or restraining him or her in the manner required by this paragraph. If the parent or guardian can show the child's height is over 4 feet and 9 inches, such child shall be restrained in a safety belt as required in Code Section 40-8-76.1.

       2. Upon a first conviction of an offense under this subsection, the defendant shall be punished by a fine of not more than $50.00, except in the case of a child who is five years of age, if the defendant shows to the court having jurisdiction of the case that a child passenger restraining system meeting the applicable requirements of this subsection has been purchased by him or her after the time of the offense and prior to the court appearance, the court may waive or suspend the fine for such first conviction. This exception shall apply until January 1, 2005. Upon a second or subsequent conviction of an offense under this subsection, the defendant shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100.00. No court shall impose any additional fees or surcharges to a fine for such a violation. The court imposing a fine for any violation of this Code section shall forward a record of the disposition of the cases annually to the Department of Public Safety for the sole purpose of data collection on a county by county basis.

(C) Violation of this Code section shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se. Violation of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not be the basis for cancellation of coverage or increase in insurance rates.

(D) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to buses, as defined in paragraph (7) of Code Section 40-1-1, used in the transport of children over four years of age until July 1, 2007, provided that the bus is operated by a licensed or commissioned child care facility, has a current annual transportation safety inspection certificate as required by the appropriate licensing body, and has evidence of being inspected for use by a child care facility. If the bus is not a school bus, as defined in paragraph (55) of Code Section 40-1-1, or a multifunction school activities bus, as defined in 49 C.F.R. 571.3(B), each child over four years of age and under eight years of age shall be properly restrained by a safety belt. Multifunction school activities buses, as defined in 49 C.F.R. 571.3(B), shall not be required to transport children five years of age in a child passenger restraining system. 

§ 40-8-79.  Unlawfully riding in bed of pickup truck; penalty

It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 18 to ride as a passenger in the uncovered bed of a pickup truck on any interstate highway in this state. The driver of any vehicle in violation of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.