Understanding the Texas Seatbelt Law

Texas requires all drivers and passengers to wear a shoulder belt or face a fine of up to $200.
Written by Stephanie Southmayd
Edited by Jessica Barrett
  • Texas’s traffic laws
    require drivers and all of their passengers to wear seatbelts—whether they’re in the front seat or back seat.
  • Drivers and passengers over the age of 17 who aren’t wearing a seatbelt can be fined $25 to $50 for the misdemeanor.
  • Subsequent seatbelt offenses can result in fines of up to $250.
  • If a passenger under the age of 15 is caught without a seatbelt, the driver can be fined $100 to $200. 

You must wear a seatbelt in the car in Texas

All passengers 8 years of age and older are required by the Texas Transportation Code to wear a seatbelt—no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. 
  • Children under the age of eight must be properly restrained with a federally-approved car restraint system, safety seat, or booster seat. 
  • The driver of the motor vehicle is responsible for ensuring that passengers who are 15 or younger are belted in.
  • Passengers 17 and older are responsible for themselves.
In other words, if you’re the parent of a 15-year-old who refuses to buckle up, you’ll be the one getting in trouble—not your teen.
  • According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXdot)’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign, 1,258 unbuckled drivers and passengers died in car crashes in 2022—that’s 2.5% more than in 2021
  • On any given day, 10% of drivers in Texas will fail to do up their seat-belts
  • Texas roadways haven’t seen a day without fatalities from collisions since as far back as November 7, 2000

You’ll be fined if you break the Texas seatbelt laws

Breaking the Texas seatbelt laws is a misdemeanor and could result in a fine.
  • Driver or passenger 17 or older: $25 to $50 fine for the offender
  • Passenger 15 or younger: $100 to $200 fine for the driver 
  • Passenger 16 years old: Potential fine for both the driver and offender
Subsequent offenses could garner drivers or passengers up to $250 in fines.

A seatbelt violation won’t impact your driving record

In Texas, breaking the seatbelt law is considered a nonmoving violation—so you won’t get any
driver's license points
on your driving record.
A seatbelt ticket will show up on your driver abstract but shouldn’t have serious consequences or increase your
Texas car insurance rates
Still, if you’re in a car accident and you aren’t wearing a safety belt, the consequences to your life—in the form of serious injuries and heavy fines—could be very serious. Take the time to buckle up. 


For the most part, yes. But the state laws set forth a few exceptions to the seatbelt use rule. The following people do not have to wear a seat belt:
  • US postal workers
  • Garbage/waste collectors
  • Utility meter readers
  • Newspaper delivery drivers
  • Drivers of registered farm vehicles 
  • Drivers with a doctor’s note stating that for medical reasons, they do not have to wear a seatbelt—you have up to 10 days to produce a physician’s note to dispute a ticket
School bus drivers and passengers under the age of 17 years old must wear seatbelts in Texas.
It’s reportedly difficult to argue your way out of a seatbelt fine in Texas, where judges tend to take a dim view of offenders. You should probably consult with an attorney before attempting to dispute your seatbelt ticket in court.
According to the 1987 Richards v. Texas case, Texas’s seatbelt law is in fact constitutional. The court determined that citizens are not guaranteed absolute freedom from government-imposed bodily restraint.
Possibly. Seatbelt traffic tickets won’t affect your
car insurance
in most states—but your insurance company will notice if you rack up a ton of seatbelt tickets. 
If you don’t pay your fine immediately, your credit score might go down. Either scenario could trigger a larger increase in your premiums.
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