Tennessee Seat Belt Laws Are For Your Own Protection
Despite all the technology in our cars and the advancements in safety technology, it is still the one device that is most definitely “old school” that saves the most lives in a car accident: the seat belt. Yes, the good old fashioned seat belt is not only a time tested safety device, but there are even laws about when drivers should use one.
Tennessee’s Seat Belt Laws
Children under the age of 4 must be seat belted, but they also must be inside of a child seat or booster. Much of the requirements have to do with how tall and heavy the child may be.
But at and beyond age 4, the law stops requiring the use of boosters or child car seats, and switches to the requirement of just using seat belts.
Any child that is under 4’9” must be seat belted anywhere in a vehicle, using what is known as a belt positioning booster system. Over that height, any child that is between 9 and 12 must use just the standard safety belt.
Who is Liable?
The driver of the vehicle can be liable for the child not using the correct seat belt system, or the child’s parent, if the parent is in the vehicle. That means that if you transport kids who aren’t yours, you need to take the steps necessary to ensure that the kids in your car are restrained with the proper safety system.
Not only can the responsible adult be sued, and be negligent for injuries that may be suffered by an improperly or unrestrained child, but there can be criminal fines and penalties as well.
For kids over the age of 16 who have a license, they are responsible for their own seat belt, and the failure to wear one, can result in a ticket and a fine.
How Seatbelts Help
Seatbelts have a number of protections—more than you may think.
For driving passengers, a seat belt can prevent you from being catastrophically injured by your own airbag. While intended to make a crash safer the airbag can actually be more dangerous when it exposes with force into an unrestrained head that is shooting forward in an accident.
Seat belts do, of course, prevent you from being thrashed around inside the car-but they also can prevent you from being thrown out of the vehicle itself. In many cases where passengers or drivers aren’t seat belted, people’s bodies end up on the road, when they are ejected from a vehicle in an accident.
You Can be Blamed
Your failure also can prevent you from recovering compensation in certain situations, as it will cause the negligent driver to blame you for your own injuries. A jury can say that you were responsible for many of your own injuries, for your failure to wear a seat belt.
Call the Clinton personal injury lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today if you were in a car accident of any kind.