What To Do if Your Car’s Seat Belt Reminder Light is On

An illuminated seat belt reminder light indicates that the driver and/or front passenger seat buckles haven’t been fastened once the engine starts.
Written by Andrew Biro
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
If your car’s seat belt reminder light is on, you or a passenger have failed to fasten your seatbelts after the engine has started, or a seat belt has been unfastened while the car is traveling at least 15 mph.
The seat belt reminder light is probably one of the lights on your dashboard you do recognize, and its purpose is fairly self-explanatory. That said, you may not know how your car senses an unbuckled seat belt, or you’re dealing with a light that won’t shut off, even when everyone is strapped in.
If that’s the case, you’re in luck, because
, the
trusted comparison tool
car insurance
shopping, has you covered. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how the seat belt reminder light works, why it turns on, and how to turn it off.
Jerry sends free alerts to keep your car up-to-date so you can avoid costly repairs
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Get ahead of my car maintenance
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

What is the seat belt reminder light on my dashboard?

The seat belt reminder light is an indicator that signals to the driver or front passenger that they have failed to fasten their seat belt. It serves two purposes:
  • Shows that a seat belt is unfastened. If the car has started and a seat belt is unbuckled, or if a seat belt is unfastened while the car is moving, the light will come on.
  • Shows that the seat belt has been fastened. Once all seat belts have been fastened, the light will shut off.
Studies have shown that those who do not fasten their seat belts have a 30% higher chance of being ejected from the vehicle during a car crash. The seat belt reminder light serves as a warning that you or a passenger are in danger of serious injury or death should you be
involved in an accident

What does the seat belt reminder light look like?

In most cars, the seat belt reminder light looks like a small human figure in a car seat with their seat belt strapped over them and is lit by a red, orange, or white light. Some vehicles even have “fasten seat belt” illuminated beneath the symbol—very clearly indicating that your seat belt needs to be buckled.

What does the seat belt reminder light mean?

As you might expect, the seat belt reminder light is illuminated when the seat belt reminder circuit senses that a person in either the driver or front passenger seat has not yet fastened their seat belt. It will activate if someone has not buckled their seat belt by the time the engine has started or if someone unbuckles their seat belt while the car is traveling at least 15 mph.

How to turn off your seat belt reminder light

The easiest way to turn off your seat belt reminder light is to make sure you and any passengers have fully buckled their seat belts, ensuring they are firmly locked in place. If all seat belts are fastened and the light does not go off, you may be dealing with one of the following issues:
  1. A heavy object is placed on a seat with seat belt sensors in it—usually, just the front passenger seat—and is tricking the sensors into thinking a person is sitting there. If this is the case, simply move the object to a seat without seat belt sensors, and the light should go off.
  2. There is an electrical issue with the seat belt reminder circuit, causing it to falsely register that a seat belt is unbuckled.
  3. A defective, damaged, or blocked buckle that no longer locks correctly, in which case the offending buckle will have to be replaced or repaired.

How to find affordable car insurance

Making sure everyone is wearing their seat belts is a great way to make sure you and your passengers are protected while on the road, but what’s keeping your car protected? Having the right car insurance policy is key to ensuring your vehicle is covered in the event of an accident.
car insurance
comparison app
can help you find and compare affordable quotes from over 50 trusted insurance providers, without all the hassle and paperwork you’re used to. All you have to do is answer a quick questionnaire, and you’ll be on your way to finding a policy that’s right for you.
makes choosing new insurance as easy as grocery shopping. Even though I had a car accident within the past 2 years, Jerry found me a great deal with Nationwide–I went from paying $340 to $90 a month!”—Pan N. 
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store


If you’ve already fastened your seat belt, but the reminder light is still on, it could be one of three issues: 1) there is an object heavy enough to trigger the sensors, tricking the system into thinking a person is seated there, 2) your car’s seat belt reminder circuit is experiencing an electrical issue, or 3) your buckle is damaged or no longer works correctly and cannot lock properly. For the latter two, you will have to take your car into the shop for it to be fixed.
Estimate your repair costs for free with GarageGuard™
Simplify your car maintenance with Jerry.
Try GarageGuard™

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings