Seat Belt Laws in Rhode Island

Drivers and passengers are required to wear seat belts in Rhode Island and can be fined up to $85 for failing to do so.
Written by Tom Hindle
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Under Rhode Island seat belt laws, the driver and all passengers must wear a seat belt while a vehicle is in operation.
Children under eight or weighing less than 80 pounds must be strapped into child safety seats or booster seats—though they can transfer to seat belts alone once they’re big enough.
Breaking the Rhode Island seat belt law could lead to fines, legal trouble, and even increased
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What are the seat belt laws in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island seat belt laws state that everyone in an operating vehicle should be wearing a seat belt or strapped into an approved child safety seat. The driver is deemed responsible for ensuring the rules are followed.
Children under the age of eight should be in the rear seat in a child restraint system, while those younger than two must be in an approved rear-facing safety seat.
Rhode Island considers not wearing a seat belt a primary offense, meaning that law enforcement can pull you over for not following the rules.
There are several scenarios in which passengers or drivers are exempt, such as medical conditions preventing the safe wearing of a seat belt or driving a vehicle made before 1966.

What happens if you break the seat-belt laws in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, failing to abide by seat belt laws can lead to a fine of up to $85—regardless of whether it concerns adults or minors. The driver is legally and financially responsible for all passengers, so make sure everyone in your vehicle is properly buckled up!
Key Takeaway If either you or one of your passengers fails to wear a seat belt properly, expect to pay an $85 fine.

Could it impact my driving record?

It won’t. Though an $85 fine is no joke, Rhode Island law states that a violation will not be marked down on your record—and you won’t accrue any
driver's license points
But minor infractions tend to add up, and any violation will show up for law enforcement and insurers. Having any sort of blemish as a driver doesn’t bode well for your car insurance or legal record.
It’s best to play it safe. Seat belts save lives.

Could it impact my insurance?

A seat belt violation alone won’t hurt your insurance premiums—that usually only happens if a violation includes demerit points.
Insurers can see any sort of violation on your driving record, though, and become increasingly wary if those start to add up. Even the smallest of errors, if repeated, can reflect poorly on you when it’s time to renew your car insurance.
Also be aware that you should pay off your fines quickly, as poor credit can make insurance companies hike your premiums in some states.

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