Seatbelt Usage in Texas
Texas first enacted a seatbelt law in September 1985. At that time, it became a primary enforcement state. This means that a person can be stopped just for not wearing a seatbelt. In states without this allowance, the person can only be ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt if they were stopped for another traffic violation, such as speeding.
The state seatbelt law affects anyone who is eight years old and up in all seats. A violation may result in a fine up to $200 for a first offense. Texas also has a child safety seat law for those seven years old and younger. Anyone who does not keep a child in one of these restraint seats may be fined at least $25.
In 2012, Texas had a seatbelt usage rate of 94 percent. This was slightly above the national average of 86 percent. The traffic fatality rate is also a little above the US average of 10.9 at 12.8 fatalities per 100,000 population.
Texas has continued to be above 90 percent for seatbelt wearing even though it has dipped slightly in recent years. In 2007, the rate was 91.8 percent, which continued to increase to the high point in 2012 before falling again in 2013 and 2014 to around 90 percent.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Texas is grouped in the South region. The south is in second place for seatbelt use with a rate of 89.2 percent. It falls behind the West, which is at 95.0 percent. Nationwide statistics show that rural areas have a lower rate of seat belt use than those in urban areas. Another interesting statistic is that people riding in pickup trucks have a rate of about 10 points less for wearing seatbelts compared to those in cars, SUVs, and vans.