When you do not wear a seat belt, you violate a traffic rule, and usually, you can get ticketed or fined once you are caught. There is no doubt about the fact that not wearing a seat belt is a violation of traffic laws.
However, traffic violations are in categories. Some violations don’t even require any punishments or fines. There are some that not only require fines but you can even get arrested and your vehicle can be towed.
Under what category of violation does not wear a seat belt fall? Is not wearing a seatbelt a moving violation?
Except in California and New York, not wearing a seatbelt is not considered a moving violation, which means that a seat belt ticket will not get into your Department of Motor Vehicles records as a moving violation.
What Does a Moving Violation Mean?
Whenever you are in motion, and you commit a traffic offense such as overspeeding, running a red light, overtaking a vehicle illegally, or driving under the influence of a substance, you have committed a moving violation.
This means that simply put, a moving violation is a breach of traffic rules while you are driving. This is why it is called a ‘moving violation.’ It means a violation you commit while you are moving.
Some other moving violations can include driving the wrong way, bashing or scratching someone else’s car, following a vehicle too close for comfort, causing an accident, changing your lanes recklessly, and any other offense you commit while your vehicle is moving.
Is Not Wearing a Seat Belt a Moving Violation?
No, it isn’t. However, in states like New York and California, not wearing a seat belt is considered a moving violation, especially when it puts others at risk, or it has caused an accident.
Let’s piece it apart. When do you wear a seat belt? Or when is it recommended that you wear a seat belt? It is the minute you get into your vehicle before you start your engine at all.
Therefore, the action of wearing a seat belt is done before you get in motion, or before your vehicle gets moving. This is why, logically, it should not be considered a moving violation.
You are expected to already have your seat belt on before you get moving. It is not a violation or an offense you commit while driving. It is an offense you commit even before you get on the road.
This is why, technically speaking, not wearing a seat belt is not a moving violation, and should not be tagged as such.
However, in states such as California and New York, seat belt violations are considered primary offenses because they are rampant in these states. It appears that people living in California and New York have a thing against seat belts.
As a result of this, seat belt violations have been tagged as primary violations in the states of California and New York.
Another reason why seat belt offenses aren’t tagged as moving violations is that they are petty violations that wouldn’t cause damage unless there is an accident.
So, while seat belt violations are primary offenses and are tagged as moving offenses in California and New York City, they are regarded as petty offenses in other states, and they are simply addressed by fines.
Why Do People Not Wear Seat Belts When They Drive?
People are naturally deviant towards laws, rules, and regulations put in a place. Most times, they want to do exactly that which they have been specifically asked not to do, especially when it is the easy thing to do.
Yes, people like to do the easy thing, and some do not consider wearing seat belts as the easy thing.
However, there are numerous reasons why people might not wear seat belts when they drive. Here are some of the reasons:
Time and again, people caught not wearing seat belts have given forgetfulness as an explanation. While we tend to understand, it is a very invalid reason.
Wearing a seat belt is a minute detail, and so it is easily forgotten, but such a reason won’t hold water in court, as it will be regarded completely as carelessness.
If you forget the little detail of putting on a seat belt, then you shouldn’t be driving, for you might also forget stepping on your brakes when you are about to collide with a vehicle.
2. Faulty Seat Belt
Another reason why many people don’t wear seat belts when they drive is that the seat belt is faulty, and most don’t even know how to repair it.
It is a common occurrence for the seat belt buckle to lock, or for the tongue of the seat belt not to latch properly, and when this occurs, and they can’t find the time to fix it, they simply stop wearing it, until they get caught.
It’s a fast life now. People are too much in a hurry these days to get to where they are going, so, they don’t bother to latch their seat belts.
Amid their hurry, they forget that they have missed the single, important detail of putting on their seat belt.
Imagine hurrying along and then involving in an accident. Only then will it become obvious that they shouldn’t have skipped that detail.
4. Many are Careful About their Clothes
Here is another petty reason why some don’t put on seat belts on their way to work, or to an important function. They say they don’t want to get their well-pressed clothes rumpled.
It is true that seat belts get clothes rumpled, and even get clothes dirty especially when the seat belt itself is dirty, but don’t you think that rumpled clothes are a small price to pay for safety?
5. Some Simply Do Not Believe
They tell you that there are a lot of people who have died in car crashes even whilst wearing a seat belt. They tell you that seat belts are not effective, and cannot protect you from a car accident.
And for this reason, they do not use seat belts, because they do not believe it has any saving ability. It is even worse when they personally know people who have died in an accident whilst using a seat belt.
6. Defiant Behavior
As earlier said, some people just don’t like obeying laws. They don’t like being told what to do, and so they do the exact opposite of what they are told.
These are not law-abiding citizens, and they will do anything at all to get away from the law of the state.
7. Dirty Seatbelts
Some whose seat belts have not been cleaned for ages may not want to use them anytime they are wearing white to avoid the cloth from getting stained.
These sets of people forget that it is their responsibility to ensure they always clean their seatbelts. Not wearing a seatbelt because of how dirty it is, is not an excuse at all.
Dangers of Not Wearing a Seat Belt When Driving
Here are some of the dangers of not wearing a seat belt when driving:
Not wearing a seat belt while driving is very dangerous because if you get involved in an accident, it can cause what would have otherwise been a small injury if you were putting on a seat belt to be a fatal injury.
Imagine that you could have just had a mild concussion by hitting your head on the stirring if you were putting on a seat, but instead, without the seat belt, you were thrown out of the car, through the windscreen, leading to a more injury all because you refused to put on a seat belt.
Many deaths could have been avoided if the occupants of the vehicle were putting on seat belts.
Indeed, wearing a seat belt won’t prevent death all the time, but it has been proven to prevent death from accidents many times.
There have been testimonials about seat belts, and it is better and safer to be using one than it is to be without one.
Risk of Being Thrown Out of the Vehicle
Another danger is that it puts you and your family at risk of getting thrown out of the vehicle onto unimaginable, hard surfaces in the event of an accident, or a collision.
When you wear a seat belt properly, no matter what happens, it keeps you firmly in the car, latched onto the seat of the vehicle.
Although not wearing a seat belt is not considered a primary offense, or a moving violation in a lot of states, it doesn’t mean it is any less important.
Wearing a seat belt can save lives, and has done that so many times. Even though it is not a moving violation, you should always wear your seat belt, as a day might come for the seat belt to save your life.