Nevada Seat Belt Law

You should always be prepared for the possibility of getting into a car accident. One of the most important things that you can do to protect yourself from personal injury is to wear a seat belt. Seat belts are so vital in preventing serious injuries that all 50 states have passed some type of seat belt law. Understanding Nevada’s seat belt laws can help you avoid legal trouble and penalties.

Do You Have to Wear a Seat Belt in Nevada?

Yes. According to Nevada Revised Statutes Section 484D.495, it is unlawful to drive a passenger car manufactured after 1968 unless it is equipped with safety belt assemblies. If the vehicle was manufactured after January 1, 1970, it must have lap and shoulder belt assemblies. This law applies to anyone driving and any passenger who is 6 years of age or older or weighs more than 60 pounds. Children under the age of six must use the appropriate child safety system. This law applies to passengers in the back seat as well as the front.

What Are the Penalties for Not Wearing a Seat Belt?

In Nevada, a citation will be issued to the driver or any adult passenger that fails to wear a seat belt as required by law. If the passenger who is not wearing a seat belt is a child under the age of 18, the citation will be issued to the driver. The punishment is a fine of $25 or mandatory community service.

The only exceptions to the seat belt law are if the individual has a written statement by a physician or advanced practice registered nurse stating that the individual was unable to wear a seat belt for medical or physical reasons, or if the vehicle is manufactured before 1968 and does not have seat belts. A passenger using public transportation, including a school bus, is also exempt from the seat belt law.

What Are the Car Seat Requirements?

If a child is six years old or younger, he or she must use a special child safety device by law. The appropriate type of device will depend on the age, weight and height of the child. The best practices for child safety seats are:

  • Rear-facing car seat. A child from newborn to one year old should stay in a rear-facing car seat with a five-point harness. A child should use a rear-facing seat until he or she outgrows it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Forward-facing car seat. Then, the child should upgrade to a forward-facing car seat, which he or she should stay in until the child is tall enough to switch safely to a booster seat.
  • Booster seat. A booster seat lifts a small child to the correct height to use a standard lap and shoulder seat belt. The lap belt should sit comfortably on the child’s upper thighs, not the waist, and the shoulder belt should go across the chest, not the neck.

Once a child graduates from a booster seat, he or she should continue using a regular seat belt at all times. Children should remain seated in the back seat of a vehicle until they are at least 12 years old.

What if You Weren’t Wearing a Seat Belt During a Car Accident?

If you were not wearing your seat belt as required by Nevada law during a car accident, this will not preclude you from making a financial recovery. An insurance company will still cover your damages despite the broken seat belt requirement. Nevada Revised Statute Section 484B.653 states that violating Nevada’s seat belt law may not be considered negligence or as causation in any civil action. It may also not be considered negligent or reckless driving. Recruiting help from an experienced Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can ensure your rights are protected if the opposing party’s representation takes this angle.

Not wearing a seat belt could, however, affect the amount that you recover. If it is proven that you are somewhat or entirely at fault for your injuries due to the failure to wear a seat belt, this could reduce your recovery by your amount of fault. This legal strategy by a defendant is known as the seat belt defense. Therefore, it is important to contact a Las Vegas car accident attorney if you get involved in a car accident without wearing a seat belt. An attorney can help you protect your legal rights.