Wisconsin Seat Belt Laws

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that Wisconsin was slightly behind the national average in seat belt usage in 2021. Residents were buckling up at about 88%, 2% behind the national average of 90%.

Seat belts are an easy and effective life-saving device. Consistent seat belt use is the best protection against ejection from a motor vehicle in the event of a crash.

Drivers and passengers who neglect to wear seat belts cost the public and private citizens financially. When fatalities result from failure to use seat belts, friends and relatives pay the price.

Wisconsin Seat Belt Laws

Seat Belts are Required Safety Equipment in Motor Vehicles

All motor vehicles for sale in Wisconsin must be equipped with safety belts. All drivers and passengers over the age of four must wear safety belts when riding in motor vehicles.

Wisconsin’s Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law

Wisconsin has a primary enforcement seat belt law. This law permits police officers to stop and ticket drivers for not wearing seat belts.

Primary enforcement laws increase seat belt usage. Wisconsin charges a $10 fine for any unrestrained drivers, drivers with unrestrained passengers, and unrestrained passengers at least 16 years old.

Children and Wisconsin’s Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law

Children under four must be restrained in an age-appropriate child safety restraint. The penalty for unrestrained children under four is not less than $30 or more than $75. Fines involving children from four to eight are not less than $10 or more than $25.

Wisconsin’s Car Seat Laws and Requirements by Age

Wisconsin’s car seat laws and requirements by age were updated in 2019. These are as follows:

  • Children under age one or weighing less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing child seat in the back seat of the car;
  • Children from ages one to three who weigh at least 20 pounds (but are under age four or less than 40 pounds) must be in either a forward-facing or rear-facing child seat in the back seat of the car;
  • Children age four to eight who weigh less than 40 pounds should be in a forward-facing car seat; and
  • Children who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and are not more than 4 feet, 9 inches tall may be in a car seat or a booster seat.

Wisconsin has no car seat exemptions for attending to a child’s needs. There are fines for ignoring or not complying with the car seat laws. For children under four, a first offense starts at $175.30 and increases to $263.50.

Seat Belts and Car Accidents

Failure to wear a safety belt is against the law. However, it may not be the cause of a car accident. 

If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence but were not wearing your seat belt, your injuries may be worse than if you were properly restrained. However, you may still be able to recover for some or all of your accident-related losses.

Reach Out to a Milwaukee Car Accident Lawyer Today

Seat belt laws can affect personal injury claims, but you may still qualify to file for compensation. Contact the car accident team at Mingo & Yankala, S.C., to discuss your legal rights in Wisconsin.

At Mingo & Yankala, S.C., our legal team thrives on exceeding client expectations. We have recovered millions for injury victims through both settlement and trial.

Your consultation at Mingo & Yankala, S.C., is confidential and complimentary. We look forward to reviewing your case and answering your car accident questions.