Seat Belt Laws in Virginia

Virginia seat belt laws require the driver, front-seat passengers, and passengers under 18 to wear a seat belt.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Edited by Pat Roache
Seat belt laws in
dictate that drivers and all passengers in the front seat or under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle.
  • Backseat passengers over the age of 18 may choose not to wear a seatbelt in Virginia, but they face a higher risk of traffic fatalities in a car crash.
  • The driver of a vehicle is responsible for making sure their passengers are properly belted according to the Virginia seat belt laws.
  • The fine for violating Virginia’s seat belt laws is between $25 and $50, charged to the driver of the vehicle.

Virginia seat belt laws

Virginia seat belt laws require the following to wear a safety belt while in a motor vehicle:
  • Drivers
  • All front-seat passengers
  • All passengers under the age of 18, no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. 
In the state of Virginia, the driver is responsible for ensuring that all front-seat and child passengers adhere to the Virginia seat belt laws.
Adult passengers are legally allowed to ride unbelted in the back seat. However, studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that proper seat belt use greatly increases your chances of
surviving a car accident
by 50%.
Key Takeaway Front seat passengers of all ages and back seat passengers under 18 must wear seat belts in the state of Virginia.

Penalties for breaking the Virginia seat belt laws

A law enforcement officer may be able to pull you over for violating Virginia’s seat belt laws, depending on the age of the offending vehicle occupant:
  • For minors under 18 years: This receives primary enforcement, meaning an officer can pull you over if they suspect a minor is not wearing their seat belt.
  • For adults 18 years and older: This receives secondary enforcement, meaning an officer can only cite you for an adult seat belt violation if you’ve been pulled over for a different, primary offense.
The fine for not wearing a seat belt is also dependent on the age of the violator:
  • Adult violation fee: $25
  • Youth violation fee: $25 to $50 
Key Takeaway You may pay a fine between $25 and $50 for breaking the seat belt laws in Virginia.

Seat belt violations do not affect your Virginia driving record

Violating Virginia’s seat belt laws is considered a nonmoving violation so you won’t get any
driver's license points
added to your driving record.

Multiple seat belt violations may affect your insurance rates

A single seat belt ticket should not cause your
car insurance
rates to rise. 
However, multiple offenses will show up on your driving abstract. Your insurance company may choose to
increase your rates
if they notice repeat violations.
Between the lines: Your
credit score can affect your insurance rates
if you fail to pay the fines from a seat belt violation ticket. That said, your premium should be fine as long as you pay your fines promptly and don’t rack up a ton of Virginia seat belt violations.
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