The New Seatbelt Law
As of October 1, 2021, Connecticut drivers may receive a ticket if one of their backseat passengers is not wearing a seatbelt. This new law, signed by Governor Ned Lamont in July, requires all backseat passengers to wear a seatbelt. The pre-existing law only required passengers 16 and under to be restrained by a seatbelt while in the rear seat.
Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti stated, “this new law will aid in our ongoing effort to reduce motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries. With an increased number of adults riding in the back seats with ridesharing services, this new law is a lifesaving measure for all Connecticut residents on our roadways.”
By way of example, in Connecticut between 2017 and 2020, there were more than 12,500 injuries of rear-seat passengers. Sadly, there were 61 fatalities during the same period.
Kevin Borah, the Executive Director of the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children’s Hospital, stated that “passages in the backseat who use seatbelts are more likely to survive a crash and less likely to injure others during a crash, unrestrained adults become living projectiles and are a lethal danger to everyone else in the vehicle with them.”
The new law does not mean drivers can get pulled over just because an un-belted adult is in the back seat; however, police can issue a fine for the unrestrained passenger if the driver is pulled over for a primary offense, such as an unsafe lane change. The penalty is $50 if the driver is 18 or older and $75 if the driver is under 18.
Keep note that it takes about three seconds to buckle your seatbelt, making the inconvenience of engaging in this activity so incredibly slight considering that you could be saving your life or the life of another. This new law could be a lifesaving measure for all Connecticut passengers on our roadways.
As they say, “buckle up!” After all, it is now the law for everyone in Connecticut, starting October 1, 2021, and moving forward!