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Q

I am a Texas driver and received a seat belt violation for my son (who is 16) not having his seat belt on in the back seat while driving in Florida. This is not against the law in Texas (it is 12 there). Do I have to pay this ticket and how would it affect my insurance? Thanks.


A

Yes, you need to pay the Florida seat belt ticket for your son not properly being buckled up unless you not only want FL to hound you for payment but also likely to contact the Texas Department of Public Safety and request they take action against your driver's license until the ticket has been taken care of.

Texas and Florida are both members of the Drivers License Compact (DLC) and Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC). The DLC requires member states to notify the licensing state of a motorist when they have been convicted of a moving violation when out of state. The home state of the driver than decides, per their laws, if the out of state offense will be placed on the person's driving record and assigned points or not.

The NVRC requires member states to suspend the driver's license of those that get traffic tickets for moving violation out of state and fail to pay them or otherwise take care of them.

Even if there is a difference of laws between states when you are driving in another state you must abide by the laws of the state in which you are operating the vehicle. That being said from what we have found even in Texas your son should have been in a seat belt or you could have been cited for a safety belt violation.

According to the Texas Highway Patrol, TX law requires every person sitting in the front seat of a vehicle to be secured by a safety belt. The law also states that all children under 17 years old must be secured with a safety belt or in a child safety seat, whether they are sitting in the front or back seat. A child less than five years old or less than 36 inches tall must be secured in a child safety seat.

In Texas drivers can be stopped and ticketed for a safety belt violation if any of their passengers under 17 years old are not buckled up or properly restrained. A safety belt violation can result in a fine of $100 to $200 or mandatory attendance at a traffic safety education class dealing with child safety seats and safety belts.

Unrestrained drivers and passengers 15 years old and over who are not wearing safety belts in the front seat can be ticketed directly in TX. You can read about the Texas Seat Belt laws by going through Texas Transportation Code 545.412 - 545.413.

Seat belt usage requirements for Florida are addressed in the Florida Statutes Section 316.614. The Florida seat belt laws state that:

  • All front seat occupants must buckle up, even if the vehicle is equipped with an air bag.
  • It is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Florida unless each passenger of the vehicle under the age of 18 years old is restrained by a safety belt or child restraint device pursuant to Florida Statute 316.613.
  • It is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt when the vehicle is in motion.
  • The law applies to all cars, pickup trucks, and vans operated on Florida's roads.
  • The cost to a violator will be a minimum of $30.00 plus $6.00 court costs.
  • All passengers under the age of 18 must use a seat belt while riding anywhere in the vehicle.

Florida laws states about child restraint requirements the following:

  • All children under the age of 18 must be buckled up while riding in any car, pickup truck, or van on Florida's roads, no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle.
  • Children through the age of 3 must be secured in a federally approved child-restraint seat.
  • Children ages 4 through 5 must be secured by either a federally approved child-restraint seat or a safety belt.
  • Drivers are responsible for buckling up the child.
  • The cost to a violator will be a minimum of $60.00 plus $10.00 court costs.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) the Texas points system assigns 2 points for a moving violation conviction in Texas or that in another state. Points however are not assigned for speeding less than 10% over the posted limit or for seat belt convictions.

So while if you are convicted of the FL seat belt offense for your son it will be reported to TX and placed on your driving record it will not be assigned points. Once the violation is listed on your motor vehicle record than it could affect your insurance rates. It would depend upon your insurer's rating system if this type of violation of the law would make your rates go up or not.

If you chose to ignore the ticket than you will likely be continually contacted by Florida, or a collections agency they sent it to, regarding payment for the ticket and then associated late fees, etc. Also in Florida if you fail to pay a traffic ticket your driver license is suspended indefinitely.

The FL Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles notes that one who has not paid a Florida ticket and has had their license suspended in FL but wants it reinstated should contact the traffic court in the county where the traffic summons was issued and satisfy the traffic summons. After this is done the motorist must then present proof of the satisfaction plus a $47.50 reinstatement fee in any Florida driver license office to get their driving privileges back in Florida.

Texas would normally also suspend your license due to the NRVC. Or if they did not do so it is likely you would have issues when you went to renew your TX license when they check the NDR (National Driver Register) and see that your license is suspended in Florida for failure to pay a ticket. Typically states will not allow someone to apply for or renew their current license if they are listed on the NDR database.

It would probably cheaper and less of a headache in the future if you paid the FL safety belt offense ticket. If your TX insurance premiums do go up than to get low cost car insurance rates for Texas, click here.


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