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Seat Belts

Seat belts save lives.

They are the single most effective safety device to prevent death and injury in a motor vehicle crash. 

Seat belts restrain occupants in the vehicle’s designed protective space, giving them room to live in the event of a crash and prevents them from colliding with other occupants in the vehicle. A seat belt also keeps the driver correctly positioned behind the wheel to help maintain control of a vehicle.

The failure to wear a seat belt results in more motor vehicle fatalities in North Dakota than any other factor. 

In 2017, 55% of motor vehicle fatalities in North Dakota were not wearing seat belts.

North Dakota Seat Belt Law

  • All front seat occupants must be properly buckled up regardless of age.
  • All occupants younger than 18 must be properly restrained regardless of their location in a vehicle. 
  • Children younger than 8 years of age are required to ride in a child restraint (car seat or booster seat).
  • A correctly used seat belt may be substituted for children younger than 8 years of age who are at least 4'9" tall.
Most people who drive and ride in motor vehicles in North Dakota understand how important it is to wear a seat belt. An annual survey of observed seat belt use in North Dakota in 2017 showed that 8 out of every 10 people wear a seat belt. But it is those who do not wear seat belts who are much more likely to lose their life in a crash.

Seat belts protect you by:

  • Keeping you safe inside your vehicle.
  • Spreading the force of impact over a large area and the strongest part of the body.
  • Allowing your body to slow down gradually, lessing the impact on internal organs.
  • Preventing impact with the interior of the vehicle.
  • Preventing collision with other occupants of the vehicle.
  • Preventing trauma to the brain and spinal cord caused by sudden change in motion.

For the best protection, position your seat belt correctly:

  • The shoulder belt should cross the center of your chest with no more than one inch of slack. Never tuck the shoulder belt under your arm. Wearing the harness the wrong way could cause serious internal injuries in a crash.
  • Adjust the strap so it goes over the collarbone, not against the neck or face. Most vehicles have sliding height adjustments on the interior doorpost.
  • The lap belt goes low across the hips - never across the stomach.
  • Sit upright with your back against the seat and your feet on the floor.
How many fatalities are acceptable in your family? We're aiming for zero. Buckle up. every trip. every time. It could save your life.