Rhode Island’s seat belt laws require that the driver and all passengers in the car over the age of 13 be buckled up.This is a secondary enforcement offense, meaning that the officer must have had probable cause to pull you over for a separate driving offense before he may issue you a ticket for unbelted driving.The fine for non-compliance is $57.
Children between the ages of 7 and 12 must be belted in.This is a primary enforcement offense, meaning that officers who have probable cause to believe the unbelted occupant is under the age of 12 may pull over the vehicle and issue a ticket.The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommends that children between the ages of 7 and 12 actually be belted in the back seat, because the front seat poses a risk of death from air bag explosion for children under a certain height and weight.
Children under the age of 7 must be restrained in the back seat.This is also a primary offense.Children under 54” and 80 lbs. must be restrained by a car seat.Those over 54” and 80 lbs. may be in a seat belt or child safety seat.
There are nearly 100,000 car accidents in Rhode Island each year.Still, 2002 was the first time that Rhode Island’s seatbelt usage has exceeded 70%.The national average is 75%.The demographic who most infrequently wears seat belts is young men (13-24), who only wear seat belts about 50% of the time.