It is recommended that you should wear seat belts at all times if you want to increase your chances of surviving in a car crash. The likelihood of you avoiding serious injury is also doubled and it is always better to be safe than sorry. So learn a little bit more about the seat belts, air bags and child safety seat laws in Virginia:
All passengers in the front seat and the driver have to wear seat belts when driving in Virginia. If the passenger is below the age of 18, then it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the passenger has got their seat belt secured or they are riding in the child safety seat.
Drivers also have to wear the lap seat belt against the thighs, and the shoulder belt should come across the chest and over the shoulder. You should never wear your seat belt below your arm or behind your back, and make sure that both the lap and shoulder belts are comfortable. Pregnant women should wear the lap belt as low as possible on the pelvis.
If the driver or passenger has a medical or physical condition, which doesn’t allow them to wear a seat belt, then the seat belt requirement law may be waived off. Although proof must be provided by a licensed physician and the person must carry a written and signed statement from the physician, which identifies them with the reason for having the law waived off.
Air bags help cushion the drivers and the passengers when they are thrown forward from the impact of a front-end accident. When they are used properly with seat belts they can save a life and keep the driver and the passengers from getting injured. The air bag reduces the force of the impact and also keeps the neck, head and chest from hitting the dashboard or steering column.
If your vehicle has got air bags:
- Make sure that all passengers are buckled up
- Make sure that your seat is at least 10 inches back from the steering wheel
- Tilt the steering wheel downwards if it can be adjusted, which will position the air bag towards your chest, rather than your neck and head.
- Make sure that all children under 12 years old are safely buckled in the back seat of the car.
Child Safety Seats
All children that are under 8 years old have to be secured properly in a child safety seat when they are riding in vehicles that have been manufactured after 1st January 1968. The child may ride in the front seat on the condition that the vehicle doesn’t have a back seat and if the car has its passenger side air bag turned off. This law may be waived off if due to the condition of the child’s physical fitness, weight or other medical reasons it would be unreasonable for the child to ride in the safety seat. A signed and written statement from the physician stating the grounds for waiving off the law must be carried by the driver when they are transporting the child.
It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the child is properly secured. If drivers are convicted in violation of the child restraint law, they will be charged $50.00 and repeating the offense may result in a $500 penalty.