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SEAT BELT LAW CHANGE

On May 1, 2000, New Jersey's seat belt law was upgraded. Police officers will be able to stop and issue summons to drivers and front seat passengers solely for not wearing their seat belts.

Why did New Jersey change to a Primary Seat Belt Law?

  • Studies have shown that seat belts do save lives and reduce injuries during crashes
  • more than 2,000 unbuckled drivers and front seat passengers died on New Jersey's roadways in the past 10 years
  • New Jersey's seat belt use rate is below the national average.
New Jersey's new primary seat belt law:
  • DOES NOT increase the existing fine for not wearing a seat belt;
  • DOES NOT add points to a driver's motor vehicle record;
  • DOES NOT create a new surcharge or additional payment fees
New Jersey's new primary seat belt law:
  • applies to all passenger vehicles that are required to be equipped with seat belts
  • applies to drivers and front seat passenger
  • continues the existing requirement that the driver is responsible for seat belt use by front seat passengers who are under the age of 18
New Jersey ’s existing child passenger law:

New Jersey ’s child passenger safety law allows Officers to stop and issue a summons to a motorist solely for not securing children as legally required. These are the guidelines for the child passenger safety law that will keep you in compliance with the law.
  • Infants up to 20 pounds and one year of age must be secured in the back seat of a motor vehicle in a federally approved rear-facing infant or convertible car seat. (Many newer convertible seats are approved for rear-facing use up to 30-35 pounds). If the motor vehicle doesn’t have a back seat, the infant must be secured in the front seat of the vehicle in the same rear-facing manner. A rear-facing car seat, however, should NEVER be installed in the front seat of a motor vehicle equipped with an active airbag. Prior to installing a rear-facing car seat, the air bag must be switched to off (if the vehicle is equipped with an on/off switch) or permission to deactivate the airbag must be obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, the front seat should be pushed back as far as possible.
  • Children between 20 and 40 pounds (applies to most children between one and four years of age) must be secured in the back seat of a motor vehicle in a federally approved convertible car seat or a booster seat (with a five point harness system). The child must be facing forward in an upright position. If there is no back seat in the motor vehicle, the child must be secured in the front seat of the vehicle in the same forward facing manner, with the vehicles seat pushed back as far as possible.
  • Children between 40 and 80 pounds (applies to most children between four and eight years of age) must be secured in the back seat of a motor vehicle in a federally approved booster seat using the lap and shoulder belt. If there is no back seat in the motor vehicle, the child must be secured in the front seat in the same manner as the back, with the vehicle’s seat pushed back as far as possible.
  • All passengers under 18 years of age (but older that 8 years of age and weighing more than 80 pounds) are required to wear a seat belt when riding anywhere in a motor vehicle. Children under 12 should ride in the back seat of a motor vehicle – the safest place – when possible.
CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY

Despite widespread efforts to educate drivers about the importance of properly restraining children in vehicles, auto accidents continue to be a leading cause of death among young people. Almost six out of ten children killed in collisions are unrestrained, indicating that a large number of these deaths could be are prevented. In New Jersey, as well as many other states, it is illegal for children to ride unrestrained, yet in four out of ten cases, drivers don’t properly restrain their young passengers.

SAFETY POINTS
  1. Children 12 and under should ride properly restrained in a rear seat.
  2. Infants should NEVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger side air bag.
  3. Small children should ride in a rear seat in child safety seats approved for their age and size.
  4. Check your vehicle owner’s manual and the instructions provided with your child safety seat for correct use information.
  5. Everyone should buckle both lap and shoulder belts where available.

GRADUATED DRIVER LICENSE PROGRAM:

The G.D.L. law, which became effective Jan. 1, 2001, includes provisions that:
  • extend the amount of time between the granting of a permit and eligibility for a license,
  • institute an intermediate, or "provisional" license for new drivers,
  • place restrictions on the driving hours and number of passengers on first-year drivers under age 21.
A special learner’s permit is issued to 16-year-olds enrolled in driving schools or behind-the-wheel driver education programs in their high schools. They are prohibited from practice driving from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. (formerly midnight to 5 a.m.), and their supervising driver will have to be at least 21 years of age, have a New Jersey driver’s license, and have three years of driving experience. Upon completing of driver training and passing a State administered driver's test, drivers will be granted a Provisional Driver's License.

New Jersey Provisional Drivers License - Special Conditions
  1. May not drive from 12: 01 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. except with a written waiver from employer or religious authority. Note: hour restrictions do not apply if provisional licensee is 21 or older.
  2. Passengers limited to one person, plus any person sharing the same residence, unless the provisional licensee or a passenger is 21 or over.
  3. Supervising driver not required.
  4. Everyone in the vehicle must wear their seatbelts.
  5. Driver may not use any type of interactive wireless communication device (regardless whether it is hands free or not).
  6. $100 fine for violations of any of the other conditions of provisional license.
  7. More than one provisional license violation conviction can result in the suspension of the provisional drivers driving privileges.
  8. All holders of a provisional driver’s license whose provisional licensing period is NOT extended by MVC beyond the standard 12 months MUST upgrade to a basic drivers license after the end of the 12 months. Motorists who are eligible for but who do NOT upgrade to a Basic Driver License at the end of those 12 months will remain subject to MVC’s Provisional Driver License regulations and could be cited by law enforcement for violating Provisional Driver License regulations.

Additional Links

Contact Information

Ringwood Police Department
60 Margaret King Ave
Ringwood, NJ 07456
(973) 962-7017

Ringwood Road Information Line
(973) 962-1212

Emergency Dial 9-1-1