Seat Belt Laws & Car Seat Recommendations

Rhode Island has a primary seat belt law (R.I.G.L. § 31-22-22) that encompasses child restraint and child passenger safety.

  • A motor vehicle operator shall be properly wearing a safety belt and/or shoulder harness system while the vehicle is in operation of any of the roadways, streets, or highways of this state per R.I.G.L. § 31-22-22(g)(1).
  • Any passenger eight (8) years of age or older, in any seating position, shall be transported properly wearing a safety belt and/or harness system per R.I.G.L. § 31-22-22(b)(1).
  • Any person transporting a child under the age of eight (8), less than fifty-seven inches (57”) in height and less than eighty pounds (80 lbs.), in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets or highways of this state, shall transport the child in any rear seating position of the motor vehicle properly restrained in a child restraint system approved by the United States Department of Transportation per R.I.G.L. § 31-22-22(a)(1).
  • All infants and toddlers under the age of two (2) years or weighing less than thirty pounds (30 lbs.) shall be restrained in a rear-facing car seat.
  • All children two (2) years of age or older who have outgrown their rear-facing car seat by height or weight should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness up to the maximum allowed by the child restraint manufacturer per R.I.G.L. § 31-22-22(a)(1).

NOTE: Vehicle operators are responsible for compliance of sections (a), (b), and (f) for all passengers. The fine for a child riding in the front seat and/or over 8 years old not in a seatbelt is $85. A violation for transporting a child not in a child restraint system requires an appearance in court.

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