NC Child Passenger Safety Law - G.S. 20-137.1
Summary of law
» Children less than age 16 in front or back seats are covered
under the NC Child Passenger Safety law.
» Drivers and passengers 16
years old and older are covered by the NC Seat Belt Law.
» All vehicles required by federal standards to have seat
belts are covered. All passenger cars manufactured after 1967 are required by federal regulations to have seat belts and are covered by the NC Child Passenger Safety Law. Vans, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles manufactured after 1971 are required to be equipped with belts and are also covered by the NC Child Passenger Safety Law. There are no exemptions for vehicles registered in other states or vehicles driven by out-of-state drivers.
» A properly used child restraint device (CRD) is required
if the child is less than 8 years old AND weighs less than 80 pounds.
Most parents and other care givers will be able to comply by using
belt-positioning booster seats for children between 40 and 80 pounds.
The child must be within the weight range for the child restraint/booster
seat and it must meet Federal standards in effect at time of manufacture.
» Children may be secured in
a properly fitted seat belt at age 8 (regardless of weight) OR at
80 pounds (regardless of age) - whichever comes first. Placing the
shoulder belt under a child’s (or adult’s) arm or behind
the back is both dangerous and illegal.
» If no seating position equipped
with a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure a belt positioning
booster seat is available, a child who weighs at least 40 pounds
may be restrained by a properly fitted lap belt only. WARNING:
Belt-positioning booster seats can only be used with lap and shoulder
combination safety belts. Belt-positioning booster seats must NEVER
be used with just a lap belt.
Refer to "What
are Options for Children over 40 pounds? in the "Choosing
and Using" section for additional information on booster seats
and safer alternatives for lap-belt-only seating positions.
Position in Vehicle:
» The CRD must be installed in the rear seat if the child
is less than age 5 and 40 lbs.and if the vehicle has a passenger
side air bag and a rear seat.
» Front seat installation is allowed if the CRD is designed
for use with air bags.
» Vehicles not required to have belts (such as cars made before
1968 and pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans made before 1972, and large
» Ambulances and other emergency vehicles
» If all seating positions with belts are occupied
» Driver responsible for all children less than sixteen
» Penalty not to exceed $25
» Full court costs apply ($188 as of August, 2011)
» Two (2) driver license points
» No insurance points
» No conviction if the child is less than 8 years old and proof
is presented at trial that an appropriate CRD/Booster seat has been
acquired for a vehicle in which the child is normally transported
since the violation.
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