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Occupant Protection

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Buckle Up. You're Worth Every Click.

Wearing a seat belt is crucial to surviving a crash. Air bags are not enough to protect you—in fact, the force of an air bag can seriously injure or even kill you if you’re not buckled up properly. Seat belts save lives.

The Vermont State Highway Safety Office (SHSO) along with State and Local police are serious about seat belt safety. Seat belt use in Vermont in 2022 is estimated to be at 90%, yet still far too many people in our state continue to die as a result of being unrestrained when they are involved in a motor vehicle crash.

Our Efforts to Increase Seat Belt Use

Seat belt Surveys – The Vermont SHSO staff members and our highway safety supporters conduct seatbelt surveys throughout the State of Vermont annually.

Attitude Survey -  The Vermont SHSO also annually conducts a driver attitude telephone survey. This is done to acquire “Attitudes” of drivers behind the wheel about various subjects including: enforcement of the laws, seat belt use, texting and driving, child car seat use and general personal behavior of Vermont drivers.

Occupant Protection Assessment - The Vermont SHSO, in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), conducts a three-year assessment of its occupant protection programs, including Program Management, Legislation, Regulation and Policy, Law Enforcement, Communication Programs, Occupant Protection for Children, Outreach Programs, Data and Evaluation Programs. This assessment evaluates all the programs funded by the SHSO related to Occupant Protection, identifies strengths, and makes recommendations on where we can improve.
Vermont OP Assessment Report 2021

“Saved by the Seat Belt” stories – Vermont SHSO welcomes stories from people who were saved from death or a more potentially serious injury because they were wearing their seatbelts. Contact Rachel Noyes of the SHSO at with your story.  

2020 Seatbelt Rates County by County 
2020 Statewide Seatbelt Use Rate vs. Fatality Rate "3 Year Rolling Average"


Vermont Seat Belt Law Highlights

23 V.S.A. § 1259         "Seat Belt Use over the age of 18"

  • Everyone in the vehicle, including backseat passengers and children, must wear seat belts properly.
  • The driver will receive a fine of $25.00 for a first violation; $50.00 for a second violation; $100.00 for third and subsequent violations.
  • Lap and shoulder belts must be worn and shoulder belts must NOT be placed behind the back or under the arm.

23 V.S.A. § 1258          "Child restraint systems; persons under age 18"

  • All children under the age of one, and all children weighing less than 20 pounds, regardless of age, shall be restrained in a rear-facing position, properly secured in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system, which shall not be installed in front of an active air bag.
  • A child weighing more than 20 pounds, and who is one year of age or older and under the age of eight years, shall be restrained in a child passenger restraining system.
  • A child eight through 17 years of age shall be restrained in a safety belt system or a child passenger restraining system.
  • The driver will receive a fine of $25.00 for a first violation; $50.00 for a second violation; $100.00 for third and subsequent violations

Remember, Law Enforcement officers in Vermont are trained to be looking for seat belt law violators, but they will also be on the lookout for impaired, aggressive and speeding drivers who - by the very nature of their risk-taking behavior - are less likely to wear seat belts.

For more information about seatbelt use and statistics of seatbelt use in Vermont,  visit the NHTSA Data Webpage.