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What To Know About Seatbelts And Car Accidents

Car accidents are devastating under the best of circumstances: Repair bills pile up, you miss work and your life is tremendously inconvenienced. If you’ve suffered one of the common car accident injuries, you can add pain and suffering, emotional distress, and medical expenses to the tally.

The car accident lawyers at Rousseau & Ross have spent more than 30 years handling these cases in New Hampshire and Vermont, and we’ve seen too many clients suffer severe injuries because of a failure to simply wear a seatbelt. As of 2011, the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency estimated that approximately 75% of New Hampshire residents were buckling up. If more people would take this one simple step, car accidents would prove less crippling and fatal than they are today.

Seatbelt Laws In Vermont

Everyone in the vehicle, including backseat passengers and children, must wear seat belts properly. Regardless of age or where they are sitting in the vehicle, all passengers must wear a seat belt while the vehicle is in use. One exception to this rule is for children under the age of 1 or under 20 pounds. These children must be in a car seat in a rear-facing position. Children who are between 1 and 8 years old and weigh more than 20 pounds should be in a child passenger restraining system such as a car seat or booster seat.

Vermont has something of a hybrid between “primary” and “secondary” seatbelt laws. In Vermont, if a driver fails to wear his or her seatbelt, it’s a secondary offense, which means an officer can only ticket you for the offense if he observes another citable offense first. The same is also true for passengers over the age of 18.

Fines for seatbelt violations in Vermont are as follows:

  • First violation: $25
  • Second violation: $50
  • Third and subsequent violations: $100

By contrast, for passengers under 18, failing to wear a seatbelt is a primary offense, which means an officer can ticket you for the seatbelt alone. Fines for these violations are the same as above, and the law applies only to the front seat of the car.

A Dangerous Decision

Even when not wearing your seatbelt is legal, it is still unwise. A skilled and capable car accident lawyer like the ones at Rousseau & Ross will likely be able to maximize your compensation for your medical expenses if the other driver is at fault, but is that really worth the pain and suffering that comes from a personal injury? Failure to wear a seatbelt puts you at greater risk of several common car accident injuries, including:

Don’t take the risk. Buckle up, even if it’s not the law.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident in New Hampshire or Vermont communities such as Concord, Manchester, or Nashua, please contact Rousseau & Ross online or dial 603-212-1176 for a free consultation.