Like all other US states, Missouri has created car seat and seat belt laws that are designed to keep all passengers and drivers safe when on the road. Understanding these laws is key to making sure that everyone is safe in the event of an accident and that drivers can avoid hefty fines if they do not follow the law correctly.
What to Know About Car Seat Laws in Missouri
The Missouri car seat laws are very clear and easy to understand, which is great for anyone living in or visiting this state, as there is very little room for error or incorrect interpretation. In Missouri, all children who are under four years old or less than 40 pounds must be in a child safety seat. The seat has to be installed correctly and the child must be properly restrained to be in accordance with the law.
Additionally, the child restraint system needs to have a label of approval. This approval label comes from the United States Department of Transportation. When a child safety seat has this label, then it indicates that the seat or system meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Parents or guardians are able to decide what type of child safety seat they are going to use, depending on the height, weight, and age of the child. By following the manufacturer’s recommendations on the seat, parents can choose the right one for their child.
The Requirements for a Booster Seat
Once a child has gotten too heavy, tall, or old for a traditional child safety seat, then they must be properly restrained in a booster seat. It’s important for parents to understand the criteria of children who are going to ride in a booster seat.
Children must weigh at least 40 pounds, no matter how old they are or be between four and eight years old. Additionally, children can weigh between 40 and 80 pounds or be less than 4’9” tall.
Children who meet these criteria must ride in a booster seat, and not be placed on the seat to be protected and restrained by the vehicle’s safety belt.
MO Seat Belt Law Exceptions
There are some exceptions to the Missouri car seat laws. While most of the time, children will need to be transported according to the above laws, understanding the exceptions is key to making sure that children are safe.
If a child using a booster seat will be riding in a vehicle that doesn’t have a shoulder and lap belt system then they can be in the back seat with just a lap belt. If there is a shoulder and lap belt available, then they must be restrained in that seat.
Additionally, if there are more immediate family members being transported in the vehicle than there are child safety restraint devices, any child that doesn’t have a restraint device must be in the back seat. This means that children can not sit in the front seat without a child restraint device, and may not be restrained by an adult in the front.
The Missouri Seat Belt Laws
All passengers and drivers who are in the front seat of a vehicle and who are 16 years and older must have a seat belt on when the vehicle is in motion. Both passengers and drivers can be individually fined and cited if they violate the Missouri Seat Belt Law.
Any driver who has a license and is in charge of operating a motor vehicle is responsible for making sure that all of the passengers, including themselves, are properly restrained. This means that drivers are responsible for both children who are in child car seats as well as older passengers who are using the vehicle’s safety belts, no matter where the person is sitting in the vehicle.
Understanding these laws is key for any person who will be driving in Missouri, as it will allow them to keep everyone in the vehicle safe and can help to avoid problems with the police. Taking time to ensure that all passengers are properly restrained is important before starting the vehicle, as ultimately, the driver is the one who is in control of the vehicle and the one who will face the greatest consequences if people aren’t properly restrained.