Jump to content
alelliot

DC seat belts: where's the law for primary enforcement?

Recommended Posts

I’m compiling a list of all states’ seat belt laws. I know that D.C. has primary enforcement seat belt laws, meaning that the police can pull you over and issue a citation if they see or suspect that you’re not wearing a seat belt. However, I can’t find the specific section that refers to primary enforcement in any of the seat belt statutes [title 50, chapter 18 for regular seat belts, and title 50, chapter 17 for child restraints].

 

Most states specifically document primary enforcement in their seat belt laws—does D.C. state it somewhere else? E.g. is it a granted power from another traffic law or something? If so, where should I look? I've combed through almost all DC motor-vehicle-related statutes and I can't find it.

 

I hope my question is clear—I’m not familiar with law at all so I don’t know what legal phrases to use. Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The law makes it a violation not to wear the seat belt/use the child restraint and says nothing about the law not being primary enforcement. In short, nothing in the law says that an officer cannot issue the citation if he/she sees the violation, just like any other violation in the code. Some jurisdictions may specifically state that, but really where a statute provides for a violation, it would be primarily enforceable in every jurisdiction I'm familiar with unless the law specifically said otherwise. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

alelliot,

 

It seems to be located in the legislative history and amendment tot the Mandatory Use of Seat Belts Act of 1985. Take a look at the following (second page, first paragraph)

 

http://www.openlims....lic/L11-244.pdf

 

The FindLaw.com Team

Thank you! I'll include that in my documentation. 

 

 

The law makes it a violation not to wear the seat belt/use the child restraint and says nothing about the law not being primary enforcement. In short, nothing in the law says that an officer cannot issue the citation if he/she sees the violation, just like any other violation in the code. Some jurisdictions may specifically state that, but really where a statute provides for a violation, it would be primarily enforceable in every jurisdiction I'm familiar with unless the law specifically said otherwise. 

 

That would make sense. Since I posted this, I found another state (Florida, I think) where the legislation had been specifically amended to remove the part about secondary enforcement, but nothing was added that specifically stated that officers could now stop cars based solely on their lack of safety belts. That suggests that primary enforcement is the default, unless otherwise stated.

 

Thank you both for your help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...