Illinois Seatbelt Law

When you are on the roadway, there is no better way to ensure the safety of everyone in your vehicle than making sure everyone uses a seat belt. Seat belts save lives and driving without one could lead to legal trouble. Understanding the Illinois seat belt laws is important, as they are not the same as every other state.

Man strapping in his seatbelt in his car

Why are Seat Belts Important?

It is no secret that seat belts save lives, regardless of how old the driver or passenger is. Vehicle accidents are not uncommon in Illinois. According to the state Department of Transportation, there were 311,679 total vehicle crashes during the latest reporting year. Out of those, there were:

  • 93,517 injuries reported
  • 1,090 fatalities reported

Unrestrained drivers and passengers are much more likely to sustain severe injuries or die in a vehicle accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017. During that same year, 47% of the 37,133 total crash fatalities in the US were unrestrained occupants in the vehicle.

If you or a loved one was a victim in a car collision, the Chicago car accident lawyers at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to explore your legal options.

What does Illinois Law say About Seat Belts?

Illinois vehicle code governs the use of seat belts for both adults and children.

  1. All passengers in the front seat must wear a seat belt.
  2. Passengers under 16 years of age must wear seat belts even if they are in the rear seat.
  3. If a driver is under 18 years of age, all passengers in the vehicle younger than 19 years of age must wear a seat belt, regardless of where they are seated in the vehicle.
  4. Children under the age of 8 must be seated in the appropriate child safety seats or booster seats.

You will see that the law does not require seat belt use for everyone. In general, anyone over the age of 16 does not have to wear a seat belt while riding in the rear passenger seats.

Illinois Seat Belt Regulations

There is other important information Illinois drivers need to know regarding seat belts:

  • No seat belt is required when driving in reverse.
  • Vehicles manufactured before 1965 do not have to have seat belts.
  • There are medical exemptions available for seat belt use. A person must obtain a written statement from a licensed physician stating the medical reason they are unable to wear a seat belt.
  • Seat belts are not required for those who deliver packages, enter and exit the vehicle often, and are driving under 15 miles per hour.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 may not have more than one passenger in the front seat and they cannot have more passengers in the back seat than are available seat belts.

Penalties for Violating Illinois Seat Belt Laws

In Illinois, seat belt violations are considered a primary offense, meaning that an officer can pull a vehicle over for not wearing a seat belt even if there were no other violations committed.

Not wearing a seat belt in Illinois is considered a petty offense and carries a fine of $25. Fines may increase depending on each case and the number of seat belt violations committed.

If a person violates the Child Passenger Protection Act, they will receive a $75 fine. Each subsequent violation of the child safety seat law carries a $200 fine.