West Virginia’s Child Safety Seat and Seatbelt Laws

West Virginia’s child safety seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

West Virginia has different seatbelt and car seat requirements based on the age of the occupant and the seating arrangement. Adults are required to wear belts only when riding in the front seat. But children must always use seatbelts or be secured by a child safety system like a booster seat or child harness. This article explains the different requirements and the penalties of a violation.

Child Seat Requirements

Unless in a taxi or other for-hire vehicle, the driver is always responsible for ensuring all children are properly secured.

Children under eight years old. All children under eight years old must be properly secured in a child passenger safety device. This requirement can include an infant seat, a rear-or forward-facing harness, or a booster seat. A child who’s at least four-feet, nine-inches tall is not required to use a restraint system, but still must wear a seatbelt.

Violations. A violation is a misdemeanor and carries a $10 to $20 fine. No license demerit points are assigned for a violation.

Seatbelt Requirements

In West Virginia, front-seat occupants and all occupants under 18 years old are required to wear seatbelts.

Exceptions. Vehicles made prior to 1967 or designed for 11 or more passengers are exempt from normal seatbelt requirements. The same goes for motorcyclists and rural letter carriers.

Violations. A seatbelt violation is a misdemeanor and carries a $25 fine but does not carry court costs.

Medical Exception

A passenger who is unable to use a seatbelt or car seat due to a medical condition can apply to the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles for a Safety Belt Waiver Certificate. The application must be certified by an attending physician indicating the need for the exemption. The certificate must be carried while driving and will designate whether the occupant is exempt from the requirements or requires an alternative safety system.

Recommendations

While West Virginia has mandatory limits for car seat usage, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has established recommendations to help parents choose a proper car seat. However, these are only recommendations and the manufacturer instructions should always be followed. It’s also a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

Birth

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13+

Rear-facing

Forward-facing

Booster

Belt

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