2013 Maryland Code
TRANSPORTATION
§ 22-412 - Seat belts required


MD Transp Code § 22-412 (2013) What's This?

§22-412.

(a) Every motor vehicle registered in this State and manufactured or assembled after June 1, 1964, shall be equipped with two sets of seat belts on the front seat of the vehicle.

(b) Every motor vehicle registered in this State and manufactured or assembled with a rear seat after June 1, 1969, shall be equipped with two sets of seat belts on the rear seat of the vehicle.

(c) A person may not sell or offer for sale any vehicle in violation of this section.

(d) For the purpose of this section only, “motor vehicle” does not include any motorcycle, bus, truck, or taxicab.

(e) For the purpose of this section only, “seat belt” means any belt, strap, harness, or like device.

(f) A seat belt may not be sold or offered for sale for use in connection with the operation of a motor vehicle in this State after June 1, 1964, unless it meets applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.

§ 22-412 - 1. Seat belts and other equipment for vehicles used by nursery schools, camps, etc.; Type 1 school vehicle excepted.

Every motor vehicle that is used by nursery schools, camps, day nurseries, or child care centers for children with an intellectual disability to transport children shall be equipped with seat belts for each seat and shall be subject to any other regulations adopted by the Administration, unless the motor vehicle:

(1) Is a Type I school vehicle; or

(2) Was formerly registered as a Type I school vehicle.

§ 22-412 - 2. Child safety seats [Effective until October 1, 2013].

(a) Definitions. --

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) (i) "Child safety seat" means a device, including a child booster seat, that the manufacturer:

1. Certifies is manufactured in accordance with applicable federal safety standards; and

2. Intends to be used to restrain, seat, or position a child who is transported in a motor vehicle.

(ii) "Child safety seat" does not mean a seat belt or combination seat belt-shoulder harness used alone.

(3) (i) "Seat belt" means a restraining device described under § 22-412 of this subtitle.

(ii) "Seat belt" includes a combination seat belt-shoulder harness.

(b) Accordance with directions of manufacturer required. -- A child safety seat meets the requirements of this section only if it is installed and used in accordance with the directions of the manufacturer.

(c) Application to vehicles. -- This section applies to the transportation of a child in:

(1) A motor vehicle registered, or of a type capable of being registered, in this State as a:

(i) Class A (passenger) vehicle;

(ii) Class E (truck) vehicle; or

(iii) Class M (multipurpose) vehicle; and

(2) A vehicle registered in another state or Puerto Rico that is the same type of vehicle as a vehicle identified in item (1) of this subsection.

(d) Child under age of 8, taller than 4 feet, 9 inches or weighing 65 pounds or more. -- A person transporting a child under the age of 8 years in a motor vehicle shall secure the child in a child safety seat in accordance with the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers' instructions unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller.

(e) Child under age of 16, taller than 4 feet, 9 inches or weighing 65 pounds or more. -- Subject to subsection (d) of this section, a person may not transport a child under the age of 16 years unless the child is secured in:

(1) A child safety seat in accordance with the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers' instructions; or

(2) A seat belt.

(f) Medical exception. -- Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, if a physician, who is licensed to practice medicine in the state in which the vehicle transporting the child is registered, certifies in writing that use of a child safety seat by a particular child would be impractical due to the child's weight, height, physical unfitness, or other medical reason, there is not a violation of this section.

(g) Individual use. -- A child safety seat or seat belt may not be used to restrain, seat, or position more than one individual at a time.

(h) Securing locations. -- Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, if the number of children subject to the provisions of this section exceeds the number of passenger securing locations suitable for securing a child either in a seat belt or in a child safety seat in accordance with this section, and all of those securing locations are in use by children, there is not a violation of this section.

(i) Effect of violations. -- A violation of this section is not contributory negligence and may not be admitted as evidence in the trial of any civil action.

(j) Moving violation. -- A violation of this section is not considered a moving violation for purposes of § 16-402 of this article.

(k) Separate violation. -- The failure to provide a child safety seat or seat belt for more than one child in the same vehicle at the same time, as required by this section, shall be treated as a single violation.

(l) Fine; waiver. --

(1) Any person convicted of a violation of this section is subject to a fine of $ 25.

(2) A judge may waive the fine if the person charged with violation of this section:

(i) Did not possess a child safety seat at the time of the violation;

(ii) Acquires a child safety seat prior to the hearing date; and

(iii) Provides proof of acquisition to the court.

(m) Implementation; compliance. -- The Department of Transportation and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shall jointly implement the Child Safety Seat Program and foster compliance with this section through educational and promotional efforts.

§ 22-412 - 2. Child safety seats [Effective October 1, 2013].

(a) Definitions. --

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) (i) "Child safety seat" means a device, including a child booster seat, that the manufacturer:

1. Certifies is manufactured in accordance with applicable federal safety standards; and

2. Intends to be used to restrain, seat, or position a child who is transported in a motor vehicle.

(ii) "Child safety seat" does not mean a seat belt or combination seat belt-shoulder harness used alone.

(3) (i) "Seat belt" means a restraining device described under § 22-412 of this subtitle.

(ii) "Seat belt" includes a combination seat belt-shoulder harness.

(b) Accordance with directions of manufacturer required. -- A child safety seat meets the requirements of this section only if it is installed and used in accordance with the directions of the manufacturer.

(c) Application to vehicles. -- This section applies to the transportation of a child in:

(1) A motor vehicle registered, or of a type capable of being registered, in this State as a:

(i) Class A (passenger) vehicle;

(ii) Class E (truck) vehicle; or

(iii) Class M (multipurpose) vehicle; and

(2) A vehicle registered in another state or Puerto Rico that is the same type of vehicle as a vehicle identified in item (1) of this subsection.

(d) Child under age of 8, taller than 4 feet, 9 inches or weighing 65 pounds or more. -- A person transporting a child under the age of 8 years in a motor vehicle shall secure the child in a child safety seat in accordance with the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers' instructions unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller.

(e) Child under age of 16, taller than 4 feet, 9 inches or weighing 65 pounds or more. -- Subject to subsection (d) of this section, a person may not transport a child under the age of 16 years unless the child is secured in:

(1) A child safety seat in accordance with the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers' instructions; or

(2) A seat belt.

(f) Medical exception. -- Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, if a physician, who is licensed to practice medicine in the state in which the vehicle transporting the child is registered, certifies in writing that use of a child safety seat by a particular child would be impractical due to the child's weight, height, physical unfitness, or other medical reason, there is not a violation of this section.

(g) Individual use. -- A child safety seat or seat belt may not be used to restrain, seat, or position more than one individual at a time.

(h) Effect of violations. -- A violation of this section is not contributory negligence and may not be admitted as evidence in the trial of any civil action.

(i) Moving violation. -- A violation of this section is not considered a moving violation for purposes of § 16-402 of this article.

(j) Separate violation. -- The failure to provide a child safety seat or seat belt for more than one child in the same vehicle at the same time, as required by this section, shall be treated as a single violation.

(k) Fine; waiver. --

(1) Any person convicted of a violation of this section is subject to a fine of $ 50.

(2) A judge may waive the fine if the person charged with violation of this section:

(i) Did not possess a child safety seat at the time of the violation;

(ii) Acquires a child safety seat prior to the hearing date; and

(iii) Provides proof of acquisition to the court.

(l) Implementation; compliance. -- The Department of Transportation and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shall jointly implement the Child Safety Seat Program and foster compliance with this section through educational and promotional efforts.

§ 22-412 - 3. Mandatory seat belt use [Effective until October 1, 2013].

(a) Definitions. --

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) (i) "Motor vehicle" means a vehicle that is:

1. Registered or capable of being registered in this State as a Class A (passenger), Class E (truck), Class F (tractor), Class M (multipurpose), or Class P (passenger bus) vehicle; and

2. Required to be equipped with seat belts under federal motor vehicle safety standards contained in the Code of Federal Regulations.

(ii) "Motor vehicle" does not include a Class L (historic) vehicle.

(3) "Outboard front seat" means a front seat position that is adjacent to a door of a motor vehicle.

(4) (i) "Seat belt" means a restraining device described under § 22-412 of this subtitle.

(ii) "Seat belt" includes a combination seat belt-shoulder harness.

(b) Seat belts required. -- A person may not operate a motor vehicle unless the person and each occupant under 16 years old are restrained by a seat belt or a child safety seat as provided in § 22-412.2 of this subtitle.

(c) Passengers. --

(1) The provisions of this subsection apply to a person who is at least 16 years old.

(2) Unless a person is restrained by a seat belt, the person may not be a passenger in an outboard front seat of a motor vehicle.

(3) A person who violates the provisions of this subsection shall be subject to the penalties under Title 27 of this article.

(d) Physically disabled persons. -- If a physician licensed to practice medicine in this State determines and certifies in writing that use of a seat belt by a person would prevent appropriate restraint due to a person's physical disability or other medical reason, the provisions of this section do not apply to the person.

(e) Certification of disability. -- A certification under subsection (d) of this section shall state:

(1) The nature of the physical disability; and

(2) The reason that restraint by a seat belt is inappropriate.

(f) U.S. Postal Service and contract carriers. -- The provisions of this section do not apply to U.S. Postal Service and contract carriers while delivering mail to local box routes.

(g) Violations not moving violation. -- A violation of this section is not considered a moving violation for purposes of § 16-402 of this article.

(h) Failure to use seat belt. --

(1) Failure of an individual to use a seat belt in violation of this section may not:

(i) Be considered evidence of negligence;

(ii) Be considered evidence of contributory negligence;

(iii) Limit liability of a party or an insurer; or

(iv) Diminish recovery for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or operation of a motor vehicle.

(2) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subsection, a party, witness, or counsel may not make reference to a seat belt during a trial of a civil action that involves property damage, personal injury, or death if the damage, injury, or death is not related to the design, manufacture, installation, supplying, or repair of a seat belt.

(3) (i) Nothing contained in this subsection may be construed to prohibit the right of a person to institute a civil action for damages against a dealer, manufacturer, distributor, factory branch, or other appropriate entity arising out of an incident that involves a defectively installed or defectively operating seat belt.

(ii) In a civil action in which 2 or more parties are named as joint tort-feasors, interpleaded as defendants, or impleaded as defendants, and 1 of the joint tort-feasors or defendants is not involved in the design, manufacture, installation, supplying, or repair of a seat belt, a court shall order separate trials to accomplish the ends of justice on a motion of any party.

(i) Prevention and education programs. -- The Administration and the Department of State Police shall establish prevention and education programs to encourage compliance with the provisions of this section.

(j) Annual evaluation report on State's highway safety plan. -- The Administration shall include information on this State's experience with the provisions of this section in the annual evaluation report on the State's highway safety plan that this State submits to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration under 23 U.S.C. § 402.

§ 22-412 - 3. Mandatory seat belt use [Effective October 1, 2013].

(a) Definitions. --

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) (i) "Motor vehicle" means a vehicle that is:

1. Registered or capable of being registered in this State as a Class A (passenger), Class E (truck), Class F (tractor), Class M (multipurpose), or Class P (passenger bus) vehicle; and

2. Required to be equipped with seat belts under federal motor vehicle safety standards contained in the Code of Federal Regulations.

(ii) "Motor vehicle" does not include a Class L (historic) vehicle.

(3) "Outboard front seat" means a front seat position that is adjacent to a door of a motor vehicle.

(4) (i) "Seat belt" means a restraining device described under § 22-412 of this subtitle.

(ii) "Seat belt" includes a combination seat belt-shoulder harness.

(b) Seat belts required. -- A person may not operate a motor vehicle unless the person and each occupant under 16 years old are restrained by a seat belt or a child safety seat as provided in § 22-412.2 of this subtitle.

(c) Passengers. --

(1) The provisions of this subsection apply to a person who is at least 16 years old.

(2) Unless a person is restrained by a seat belt, the person may not be a passenger in an outboard front seat of a motor vehicle.

(3) (i) Unless a person is restrained by a seat belt, the person may not be a passenger in a rear seat of a motor vehicle.

(ii) A police officer may enforce this paragraph only as a secondary action when the police officer detains a driver of a motor vehicle for a suspected violation of another provision of the Code.

(d) Physically disabled persons. -- If a physician licensed to practice medicine in this State determines and certifies in writing that use of a seat belt by a person would prevent appropriate restraint due to a person's physical disability or other medical reason, the provisions of this section do not apply to the person.

(e) Certification of disability. -- A certification under subsection (d) of this section shall state:

(1) The nature of the physical disability; and

(2) The reason that restraint by a seat belt is inappropriate.

(f) U.S. Postal Service and contract carriers. -- The provisions of this section do not apply to U.S. Postal Service and contract carriers while delivering mail to local box routes.

(g) Violations not moving violation. -- A violation of this section is not considered a moving violation for purposes of § 16-402 of this article.

(h) Failure to use seat belt. --

(1) Failure of an individual to use a seat belt in violation of this section may not:

(i) Be considered evidence of negligence;

(ii) Be considered evidence of contributory negligence;

(iii) Limit liability of a party or an insurer; or

(iv) Diminish recovery for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or operation of a motor vehicle.

(2) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subsection, a party, witness, or counsel may not make reference to a seat belt during a trial of a civil action that involves property damage, personal injury, or death if the damage, injury, or death is not related to the design, manufacture, installation, supplying, or repair of a seat belt.

(3) (i) Nothing contained in this subsection may be construed to prohibit the right of a person to institute a civil action for damages against a dealer, manufacturer, distributor, factory branch, or other appropriate entity arising out of an incident that involves a defectively installed or defectively operating seat belt.

(ii) In a civil action in which 2 or more parties are named as joint tort-feasors, interpleaded as defendants, or impleaded as defendants, and 1 of the joint tort-feasors or defendants is not involved in the design, manufacture, installation, supplying, or repair of a seat belt, a court shall order separate trials to accomplish the ends of justice on a motion of any party.

(i) Prevention and education programs. -- The Administration and the Department of State Police shall establish prevention and education programs to encourage compliance with the provisions of this section.

(j) Annual evaluation report on State's highway safety plan. -- The Administration shall include information on this State's experience with the provisions of this section in the annual evaluation report on the State's highway safety plan that this State submits to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration under 23 U.S.C. § 402.

(k) Fine. -- Any person convicted of a violation of this section is subject to a fine of not more than $ 50.

§ 22-412 - 4. Seat belts or restraining devices in emergency vehicles

(a) Definitions. --

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) "Seat belt" means a restraining device described under § 22-412 of this subtitle.

(3) "Vehicle" means an emergency vehicle purchased or leased by the State, a county, municipality, or volunteer fire department or rescue squad and operated by a:

(i) State, county, or municipal fire department;

(ii) Volunteer fire department; or

(iii) Rescue squad.

(b) Required. -- A vehicle registered in the State and manufactured and assembled after January 1, 1990 shall be equipped with a seat belt or safety restraining device approved by the local authority having jurisdiction for each position on the vehicle that may be lawfully occupied by a passenger.

(c) Failure to use; evidence; civil actions. --

(1) The failure of a person to use a seat belt or restraining device required under this section may not:

(i) Be considered evidence of negligence;

(ii) Be considered evidence of contributory negligence;

(iii) Limit liability of a party or an insurer;

(iv) Diminish recovery for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or operation of a motor vehicle; or

(v) Be considered a moving violation for purposes of § 16-402 of this article.

(2) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subsection, a party, witness, or counsel may not make reference to a seat belt during a trial of a civil action that involves property damage, personal injury, or death if the damage, injury, or death is not related to the design, manufacture, installation, supplying, or repair of a seat belt required under this section.

(3) (i) Nothing contained in this subsection may be construed to prohibit the right of a person to institute a civil action for damages against a dealer, manufacturer, distributor, factory branch, or other appropriate entity arising out of an incident that involves a defectively installed or defectively operating seat belt.

(ii) In a civil action in which 2 or more parties are named as joint tort-feasors, interpleaded as defendants, or impleaded as defendants, and 1 of the joint tort-feasors or defendants is not involved in the design, manufacture, installation, supplying, or repair of a seat belt, a court shall order separate trials to accomplish the ends of justice on a motion of any party.

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