North Carolina Car Seat Laws


NC Car Seat Laws

  • All children under eight (8) years of age that weigh less than eighty (80) pounds must be properly secured with a child restraint device.
  • Belt positioning booster seats may be used for children in the weight range of forty (40) to eighty (80) pounds.
  • All child safety seats must meet the Federal standards that were in effect at the time the child safety seat or booster seat was manufactured.
  • Parents or care-givers placing children in car seats must follow the manufactures recommendation for height and weight limits for the child restraint device.
  • Children eight (8) years old and older regardless of their weight or children weighing at least (80) pounds regardless of their age may be restrained with a proper fitting seat belt.
  • It is illegal to place a shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm of any passenger in the vehicle.
  • Belt positioning booster seats should never be used without a shoulder / lap belt combination.

Positions for Child Restraint Devices

  • Children under the age of five (5) and forty (40) pounds must be placed in a child restraint device in the rear seat of the vehicle if the vehicle is equipped with a passenger side air bag and a backseat.
  • A parent or caregiver may place a child under the age of five (5) and forty (40) pounds in the front passenger seat if the child restraint device is designed to be used with air bags.

Exceptions to the North Carolina Car Seat Law

  • All seating positions in the vehicle are occupied
  • Cars made prior to 1968 and SUV’s, Vans, Pick-up Trucks and large buses made prior to 1972.
  • Emergency Vehicles such as ambulances.
  • Children weighing a minimum of forty (40) pounds may use a properly fitted lap belt only if the vehicle does not have a shoulder / lap belt system.

NC Car Seat Law Violations

  • The driver of a vehicle is responsible making sure all children under the age of sixteen (16) are properly restrained.
  • The fine for a violation of the NC Car Seat Law is $25 plus court costs of $188.
  • Two (2) driver license points will also be assessed for a car seat law violation (no insurance points).
  • No conviction will be assessed if the child was under the age of eight (8) and there is proof that a child restraint device or booster seat has been acquired for the vehicle in question since the violation took place.

NC Seat Belt Law

  • All drivers and passengers sixteen (16) years of age and older must be secured with seat belts regardless of seating position in the vehicle.
  • Passengers under the age of 16 fall under the State of North Carolina Child Passenger Safety Law.
  • It is illegal to place a shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm.

Exceptions to the NC Seat Belt Law

  • Cars manufactured prior to 1968 and light trucks manufactured prior to 1972.
  • Noncommercial vehicles carrying passengers with medically certifiable conditions that prohibit the use of seat belts.
  • Rural newspaper or letter carriers while preforming duties.
  • Vehicles that do not exceed twenty (20) MPH making frequent stops.
  • Vehicles with “Farm” license plates preforming intrastate commerce for agriculture.
  • Motor home occupants other than the driver and the front seat passenger.
  • Subjects in custody in the back seat of a law enforcement vehicle.
  • Garbage or recycling trucks during collections.

NC Seat Belt Law Fine

  • Drivers cited for a violation of the NC Seat Belt Law are fined $25.50 and pay court costs of $135.50.

Source Links for this Article

North Carolina Child Passenger Safety Law

North Carolina Seat Belt Law

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