Muni-mail – Rear-seat Adults Must Now Buckle Up! NJSA 39:3-76.2(f)

[5/31/10 – 10:30 pm] The Legisture has amended the provisions of New Jersey’s seatbelt law under NJSA 39:3-76-2(f) and (g) to require that all occupants of a passenger automobile, including adults who are seated in the rear utilize a seatbelt when the vehicle is being operated. Under the prior law, adults seated in the rear of a passenger automobile were not required to utilize a seatbelt.

As far as enforcement is concerned, a companion new statute, NJSA 39:3-76.2(n) catagorizes seatbelt violations as secondary offenses, meaning that police must detain the vehicle for a different violation before issuing a summons and complaint for this offense.

The text of these new and amended statutes are as follows:

<< NJ ST 39:3-76.2f >>

2. a. Except as provided in P.L.1983, c. 128 (C.39:3-76.2a et al.) for children under eight years of age and weighing less than 80 pounds, all passengers under eight years of age and weighing more than 80 pounds, and all passengers who are at least eight years of age but less than 18 years of age, and each driver and front seat passenger under eight years of age and weighing more than 80 pounds, and all passengers who are at least eight years of age but less than 18 years of age, and each driver and front seat passenger of a passenger automobile operated on a street or highway in this State shall wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system as defined by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 209.
b. The driver of a passenger automobile shall secure or cause to be secured in a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system, as defined by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 209, any passenger who is at least eight years of age but less than 18 years of age.
c. All rear seat passengers 18 years of age or older of a passenger automobile operated on a street or highway in this State shall wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system as defined by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 209.
For the purposes of the “Passenger Automobile Seat Belt Usage Act,” the term “passenger automobile” shall include vans, pick-up trucks, and utility vehicles.
2. [FN2] Section 3 of P.L.1984, c. 179 (C.39:3-76.2g) is amended to read as follows:

<< NJ ST 39:3-76.2g >>

3. This act shall not apply to a driver or front seat passenger of:
a. A passenger automobile manufactured before July 1, 1966;
b. A passenger automobile in which the driver or passenger possesses a written verification from a licensed physician that the driver or passenger is unable to wear a safety seat belt system for physical or medical reasons;
c. A passenger automobile which is not required to be equipped with a safety seat belt system under federal law;
d. A passenger automobile operated by a rural letter carrier of the United States Postal Service while performing the duties of a rural letter carrier; or
e. A passenger automobile which was originally constructed with fewer safety seat belt systems than are necessary to allow the passenger to be buckled.

<< NJ ST 39:3-76.2n >>

3. [FN3] (New section) Enforcement of the provisions of subsection c. of section 2 of P.L.1984, c. 179 (C.39:3-76.2f) by State or local law enforcement officials shall be accomplished by treating a violation thereof only as a secondary offense when a driver of a passenger automobile has been detained for some other suspected violation of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes or other law. Each rear seat passenger 18 years of age or older of a passenger automobile shall be responsible for any fine imposed pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1984, c. 179 (C.39:3-76.2j) for failure to wear a seat belt pursuant to subsection c. of section 2 of P.L.1984, c. 179 (C.39:3-76.2f).
4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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