Personal Injury MN Johnston Martineau

Do you have to wear a seat belt riding in an uber or lyft?

Uber and Lyft car services are becoming more widely used in the United States with each passing month. As a result, a growing number of people have questions regarding what laws apply to a passenger of an Uber or Lyft car service. Chief among these questions is whether or not an Uber or Lyft passenger is required to wear a seat belt.

In the final analysis, an Uber or Lyft passenger must follow the seat belt rule on the books in the state where the Uber or Lyft trip takes place. The fact that a person is riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle does not alter the existing requirements associated with using a seat belt when motoring in an automobile as a passenger.

General Overview of U.S. Seat Belt Laws

34 U.S. states have what are known as primary seat belt laws. What this means is that if a person is an occupant of the front seat of a motor vehicle, a seat belt must be worn, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In addition, in some states a back seat passenger must also be belted in. Moreover, a police officer may be able to pull an automobile over and issue citation based solely on the failure of a front seat occupant to wear a seat belt depending on the state. A majority of U.S. territories also have this type of seat belt law in place.

15 states have what are called secondary seal belt laws. Whether the requirement to be belted in pertains to front seat or front and rear seat passengers varies from state to state. However, in these secondary states, a police officer cannot pull a vehicle over for only a seat belt infraction.

Only New Hampshire lacks either a primary or secondary seat belt law. However, as a general rule, children under the age of 18 need to be appropriately restrained in a moving motor vehicle. Depending on the age of the child passenger, this means everything from an appropriate car seat to a seat belt.

Covering Bases When in an Uber or Lyft

A minority of riders in Uber and Lyft ride in the front passenger seat. The majority seat in the back seat.

When sitting in the front seat of an Uber or Lyft, put on the seat belt. In some states, wearing a seat belt in the back seat of the case legally may not be required. However, unless a person absolutely is clear about the seat belt requirements in a particular state, he or she should belt up.

Safety and Seat belts

No matter the specific seat belt requirement in a state, the proper use of seat belts is considered the best protection against sustaining serious injuries in an automobile accident, according to the National Safety Council. About half of all people killed in automobile accidents were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.

Representation for Those Injured

While it may appear that refusing to wear a seat belt in an accident caused by your uber or lyft driver may impede your ability to file a personal injury case, a DC car accident lawyer knows that may not be true. If you’ve sustained injuries as a result of an uber- or lyft-related accident, regardless of whether you were or weren’t wearing your seat belt, you still may be entitled to compensation. Talk to a personal injury lawyer, today.


Thanks to our friends and co-contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into seat belt requirements

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