Nebraska has various seatbelt and child safety seat requirements that vary depending on a number of factors. Younger children are typically required to use rear- or forward-facing car seats and adults may be required to wear seatbelts depending on where they are seated and who’s driving. This article explains the details of the different rules and the associated penalties for violations.
Nebraska’s seatbelt requirements apply to all not-for-hire vehicles made after 1963.
Under two years old. Children under two years old must be properly restrained in a rear-facing child restraint system. A child who exceeds the manufacturer’s height and weight limits can use a forward-facing or combination car seat.
Under eight years old. All children under eight years old must be secured in a child restraint system (booster or child restraint system) and seated in the rear seats unless occupied by other children.
Under 18. Until a child reaches 18 years old, he or she must wear a seatbelt and is not permitted to ride in the cargo area of the vehicle.
Adult. Any passenger riding in the front seat or riding with an instruction permit driver is required to use a seatbelt regardless of age.
A seatbelt or child restraint violation will result in a $25 fine. Additionally, a violation relating to children under eight years old will result in the assessment of one license demerit point.
While an officer cannot initiate a traffic stop solely for a seatbelt violation, a traffic stop is allowed if a minor is in the cargo area.
The seatbelt requirement doesn’t apply to taxi drivers and rural letter carriers. Emergency vehicles and parade vehicles are also exempt from these requirements. A passenger may also be exempt if a licensed physician has determined that a seatbelt or restraint system would be harmful. However, documentation from the physician must be carried while driving.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation provides guidelines and car seat inspection locations to help parents properly choose and install car seats. These guidelines are not requirements and drivers should always comply with the car seat manufacturer recommendations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also provides guidelines and it’s always a good idea to register your car seat for recalls.