VIRGINIA’S CHILD RESTRAINT DEVICE LAW
The major requirements of Virginia’s Child Safety Seat Law:
- Child restraint devices are required for children through the age of seven (until 8th birthday). Safety seats must be properly used and approved to meet Department of Transportation standards. The Virginia law is based on age and proper usage. Proper selection and use of a safety seat regarding weight and height is in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat. Rear-facing child restraint devices must be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. In the event the vehicle does not have a back seat, the child restraint device may be placed in the front passenger seat only if the vehicle is either not equipped with a passenger side airbag or the passenger side airbag has been turned off.
- Effective July 1, 2019: Children are to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until the age of two or the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing safety seat as prescribed by the manufacturer of the safety seat.
- Children can no longer ride unrestrained in the rear cargo area of vehicles.
- The law applies to anyone (i.e. parents, grandparents, babysitters, friends) who provides transportation for a child in any vehicle manufactured after January 1, 1968. Public transportation (taxis, buses), regulation school buses, and farm vehicles are exempted.
- The child restraint law is primary enforcement — no other violation need be committed prior to ticketing for failure to have a child in an approved seat.
- A $50 civil penalty fine is imposed for failure to have a child in a child restraint device. Any person found guilty a second or subsequent time, on different dates, will be fined up to $500. An additional $20 civil penalty fine is assessed when persons transporting a child exempted from this law due to medical reasons do not carry a written statement of the exemption. All fines collected go into a special fund to purchase safety seats for low-income families.
There are assistance programs for low-income residents who cannot afford a safety seat. Contact Virginia Department of Health, Division of Injury and Violence Prevention at 1-800-732-8333 for more information.
VIRGINIA’S PASSENGER SAFETY BELT LAW
The major requirements of Virginia’s Child Safety Belt Law:
- Children age 8 through age 17 (until age 18) must be belted correctly in vehicle safety belts, in vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1968. Exemptions are taxicabs, school buses, executive sedans and limousines.
- This safety belt law is primary enforcement — no other violation need be committed prior to ticketing for failure to have a child properly buckled up.
VIRGINIA’S PICKUP TRUCK LAW
- No person under age 16 shall be transported in the rear cargo area of a pickup truck.
- There are exemptions for certain parades and farming operations.