Seatbelt Usage in Alabama
Alabama is one of the states where seatbelt laws have primary enforcement, which means that a police officer can stop a person just for not wearing a seatbelt. This state is part of the southern region of the country, which had the second highest seatbelt usage in 2015 and 2016.
Alabama has seen a steady increase in the wearing of seatbelts since 2007 when it was at 82.3 percent. In 2013, that total was up to 97.3 percent, but it dropped slightly in 2014 to 95.7 percent. This number is also significantly higher than for the national average, which is at 86 percent.
The seatbelt law in Alabama covers everyone in the front seat age 15 and up. For a first offense in not wearing a seatbelt, the fine is $25. In addition to seatbelts for adults, the state also has laws regarding child safety seats. Anyone younger than one-year-old or with a weight less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing seat. After they turn one year old but are less than four years old, they must be in a forward-facing seat. After they turn five, they must be in a booster seat. There are no laws for passengers in the rear seats to wear seatbelts.
Nationwide, the percentage of drivers who wear their seatbelts is slightly higher than for front passengers. Occupants who are riding in a vehicle on a busy highway are slightly more likely to wear seatbelts than those traveling on side roads. Seatbelt usage also varies by type of vehicle. Nationally, those riding in a pickup truck are slightly less likely to wear a seatbelt than those riding in cars or SUVs. The same is true for rural areas as compared to urban areas where 89.5 percent of occupants in rural areas wear their seatbelts as compared to the 90.5 percent in urban areas.