Ohio Law Only Requires the Use of Seatbelts by Drivers and Front Passengers
Adult rear passengers are not required to use seatbelts, and this may affect their ability to recover damages in an accident
Passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966 authorized the federal government to set and regulate standards for motor vehicles and highways, and led to adoption of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards two years later. This included a requirement that American cars and imports be equipped with safety devices including head rests, energy-absorbing steering wheels, shatter-resistant windshields, and seatbelts. While many states encouraged seat belt use afterward, New York was the first to require it (December, 1984). Ohio followed suit one and one-half years later.
If you were injured in an accident and you were not wearing a seatbelt, you might think that your injuries are automatically your fault. The Ohio auto accident lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law want you to know that is not necessarily the case. If another driver is to blame for the crash, he or she may still be held liable for the accident. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling complex cases like these, and have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
The rationale of seatbelts
The value of wearing a seatbelt seems unquestionable, no matter where one is seated in a vehicle. Restraining devices prevent passengers from being ejected from a car during a collision or roll-over. For example, in 2008 there were 25,351 passenger fatalities nationally, and fifty-five percent of the vehicles’ occupants were unrestrained. Being ejected from a fast-moving vehicle by impact is typically a formula for catastrophic injury or death.
What are Ohio’s seatbelt regulations and exceptions?
A driver, anyone over age 15 occupying the front passenger seat, and other occupants from ages 4 through 14 in any seat, must wear seatbelts. Passengers under age 4 must be properly secured in an infant car seat or on a booster. Adult rear seat passengers are not required to wear seatbelts at all. The seatbelt requirement does not apply to employees of the Postal Service or of newspaper home delivery services when operating vehicles for mail or newspaper delivery. They also do not apply to a person who has an affidavit signed by a physician or chiropractor that states that he or she has a physical impairment that makes use of an occupant restraining device impossible or impractical.
What if I suffer a catastrophic injury or death in an accident and was not wearing a seatbelt?
Because of Ohio’s “comparative negligence” rule, a driver who causes an accident may argue that the victim is responsible for the extent of their injuries because they neglected to secure themselves. Failure to wear a seat belt will not necessarily exclude you from recovery, but it might affect the amount of damages you recover. Insurance companies often deny or limit claims in which the injured claimant failed to wear a seatbelt.
Can one of Crandall & Pera Law’s Ohio auto accident attorneys help you?
A qualified Ohio auto accident attorney can help by contesting the degree of your responsibility, since courts and juries consider all the facts in a case, including whether a seatbelt would have made any difference at all. A Crandall & Pera Law attorney can also deal with insurance carriers who refuse or delay payment of the associated
Speak about your situation with one of Crandall & Pera Law’s traffic violations specialists? Please call us at 877-686-8879 or fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation. Crandall & Pera Law has five Ohio law offices conveniently located in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chesterland, and Chagrin Falls.