Safety Seat Belt Information
In an effort to help save lives, the Old Town Police Department strictly enforcees safety belt and and child safety seat laws. The latest national data reveals that 4 out of 10 children ride unrestrained. In 1997, 6 out of 10 children who were killed in motor vehicle accidents were not buckled. For children under the age of 5 that were killed (298), 54% were unrestrained. Three-hundred-twelve children were saved by safety belt restraints. Statistics also show that child safety seats, when used correctly, can reduce fatalities among children less than 5 years of age by 71%. Safety belts are the most effective safety devices in vehicles today and take only three seconds to buckle.
Children are 29% safer in the back seat and are required by law to be in a child safety seat until the age of 4. Children between the ages of 4 and 18 are required to use a safety belt, regardless of the location in the vehicle. Those between 4 and 9 are strongly encouraged to be placed in a booster seat. Operators and passengers over 18 are also required by law to wear safety belts.
The Old Town Police Department will continue to enforce Maine's seat belt and child safety seat laws to protect the community and reduce the number of injuries and save lives. Good highway safety practices are something we can all live with. BUCKLE UP AND USE CHILD SAFETY SEATS!
Safety Seat Belt Laws
§2081. Use of safety seat belts
1. Definitions: As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. "Child Safety Seat" means a child safety seat that meets the standards described in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
B. "Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards" means the standards described in 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 571, in effect on January 1, 1981, as subsequently amended.
C. "Federally Approved Child Restraint System" means a child safety restraint that is intended to be used as crash protection in vehicles and that meets the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
2. Children under 40 pounds: When a child who weighs less than 40 pounds is being transported in a motor vehicle that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with safety seat belts, the operator must have the child properly secured in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions in a child safety seat. Violation of this subsection is a traffic infraction for which a fine of $50 for the first offense, $125 for the 2nd offense and $250 for the 3rd and subsequent offenses must be imposed. A fine imposed under this subsection may not be suspended by the court.
3. Passengers less than 18 years of age: Except as provided in
subsection 2, the following provisions apply to passengers less than 18
years of age riding in a vehicle that is required by the United States
Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts. Violation of
this subsection is a traffic infraction for which a fine of $50 for the
first offense, $125 for the 2nd offense and $250 for the 3rd and subsequent
offenses must be imposed. A fine imposed under this subsection may not be
suspended by the court.
A. The operator shall ensure that a child who weighs at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who is less than 8 years of age is properly secured in a federally approved child restraint system. Nonprofit, municipal or contracted transportation service providers are exempt from this paragraph until February 1, 2005, except that the operator shall ensure that the child is properly secured in a seat belt.
B. The operator shall ensure that a child who is less than 18 years of age and at least 8 years of age or who is less than 18 years of age and more than 4 feet, 9 inches in height is properly secured in a seat belt.
C. The operator shall ensure that a child who is less than 12 years of age and who weighs less than 100 pounds is properly secured in the rear seat of a vehicle, if possible.
3-A. Other passengers 18 years of age and older; operators: When a person 18 years of age or older is a passenger in a vehicle that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts, the passenger must be properly secured in a seat belt. Each such passenger is responsible for wearing a seat belt as required by this subsection, and a passenger that fails to wear a seat belt as required by this subsection is subject to the enforcement provisions of subsection 4. The operator of a vehicle that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts must be secured in the operator's seat belt. Violation of this subsection is a traffic infraction for which a fine of $50 for the first offense, $125 for the 2nd offense and $250 for the 3rd and subsequent offenses must be imposed. A fine imposed under this subsection may not be suspended by the court. A vehicle, the contents of a vehicle, the driver of or a passenger in a vehicle may not be inspected or searched solely because of a violation of this subsection.
4. Enforcement: The following provisions apply to subsections 2, 3 and 3-A.
A. Unless the vehicle is operated by a person under 21 years of age, the requirements do not apply to a passenger over one year of age when the number of passengers exceeds the vehicle seating capacity and all of the seat belts are in use.
A-1. The requirements of subsection 3-A do not apply to a driver or passenger who has a medical condition that, in the opinion of a physician, warrants an exemption from the requirements of subsection 3-A and that medical condition and opinion are documented by a certificate from that physician. That certificate is valid for the period designated by the physician, which may not exceed one year. The Secretary of State may issue a removable windshield placard that is visible to law enforcement officers to a person with a certificate from a physician. A removable windshield placard is a 2-sided permit designed to hang from the rearview mirror when the vehicle is in motion without obstructing the view of the operator. The placard must be displayed by hanging it from the rearview mirror so that it may be viewed from the front and rear of the vehicle when the vehicle is in motion. If the vehicle is not equipped with a rearview mirror, the placard must be displayed on the dashboard. The placard must be identifiable as a seat belt placard as designed by the Secretary of State. A placard issued to a person under this paragraph expires when the physician's certificate expires.
B. to E. (Repealed)
5. Evidence: In an accident involving a motor vehicle, the nonuse of seat belts by the operator or passengers or the failure to secure a child is not admissible in evidence in a civil or criminal trial, except in a trial for violation of this section.
6. Exceptions: Notwithstanding subsection 3-A:
A. A rural mail carrier of the United States Postal Service is not required to be secured in a seat belt while engaged in the delivery of mail;
B. The operator of a taxicab or a limousine is not responsible for securing in a seat belt a passenger transported for a fee; and
C. A newspaper delivery person is not required to be secured in a seat belt while engaged in the actual delivery of newspapers from a vehicle or performing newspaper delivery duties that require frequent entry into and exit from a vehicle.