Safety Belts and Child Safety Seats
Effective January 1, 2012, Illinois law requires all passengers, regardless of age or location in the vehicle, will be required to be secured in a seat belt or an appropriately approved child restraint system.
If a passenger has a disability or medical condition that makes him/her unable to secure his/her own safety belt, the driver is responsible for securing and adjusting the safety belt for that passenger.
It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that ALL passengers obey the safety belt law and the Child Passenger Protection Act. Anyone found guilty of disobeying this law is subject to a fine and court costs.
For more information, please see the Illinois Rules of the Road, Chapter 4.
Child Passenger Protection Act
The Child Passenger Protection Act requires the use of an appropriate safety restraint system for all passengers under age 16 regardless of their location in the vehicle. Children under age 8 must be properly secured in an approved child restraint system, which may include a booster seat. A child weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat of a vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder belt.
For more information, please visit the Child Passenger Safety Requirements page.
Illinois' first safety belt survey was conducted in April 1985, prior to the safety belt law becoming effective on July 1, 1985.
- 1985 — 15.9%
- 1986 — 36.2%
- 1987 — 37.3%
- 1988 — 39.5%
- 1989 — 40%
- 1990 — 47.1%
- 1991 — 50.4%
- 1992 — 64%
- 1993 — 67%
- 1994 — 68.3%
- 1995 — 68.7%
- 1996 — 64%
- 1997 — 64.2%
- 1998 — 64.5%
- 1999 — 65.9%
- 2000 — 70.2%
- 2001 — 71.4%
- 2002 — 73.8%
- 2003 — 76.2%
- 2004 — 83.0%
- 2005 — 86.0%
- 2006 — 88.0%
- 2007 — 90.1%
- 2008 — 90.5%
- 2009 — 91.7%
- 2010 — 92.6%
- The Child Passenger Protection Act states, as of January 1, 2004, children under the age of 8 must be secured in an approved child restraint system. Children and young people, ages 8 and up to 16 years of age must be secured in a properly adjusted safety belt in any position in the vehicle.
- In 2010, more than 111,000 people were convicted of not wearing safety belts in Illinois. 5,349 people were convicted on not properly restraining their children in a moving vehicle.
- Illinois' seat belt usage rate have risen from 91.7% in 2006 to 92.6% in 2010.
- 33 states (including Illinois), Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have primary enforcement for seat belt violations, meaning law enforcement can stop and write citations whenever they observe violations of a state's seat belt laws.
- Safety belts and child restraints are credited with saving the lives of more than 10,000 vehicle passengers over the age of 5.
- Lap/shoulder belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50%.
- From 1975 through 2009, an estimated 9,310 lives were saved by the use of child restraints.
- When properly used, child safety seats reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants (less than 1 year old) and by 54% for toddlers (1-4 years old).
- The seat belt law requires all occupants to be belted and the Child Passenger Protection Act requires that any child under the age of 16, regardless of their location in the vehicle needs to be secured in a size-appropriate safety system (a child safety seat or seatbelt).
- The driver of a vehicle is ultimately responsible for the safety of all the passengers under age 16 and will be issued a violation for non-compliance regardless of their location in the vehicle. Any passenger over age 16 may be issued a violation of the seat belt law if unbelted. And if the driver is 16 or 17 years old, is transporting individuals not properly belted they are in violation of the Graduated License Law and the driver will be cited. Under this condition it is also at the discretion of the officer that they may issue a violation to any passenger aged 16-17 in the back seat. If there is a disabled passenger in a vehicle who cannot fasten their own safety belt, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring the disabled person is safely secured in the vehicle.
- An officer can only stop a vehicle, aside from a safety checkpoint, if they have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to do so. If you do not have your seat belt on as the driver, front or back seat passenger, then the officer has probable cause to stop you. You have violated the Seat Belt Law, and/or may have violated the Graduated License Law or the Child Passenger Protection Act. The law specifically states that the officer is prohibited from searching the vehicle or persons in the vehicle solely based on the stop for a seat belt violation.