Utah Car Seat Laws in 2021

In Utah law, a child under eight years old and less than 4’9” tall is required to be restrained in a child restraint device according to manufacturer’s instructions when being transported in a motor vehicle operated on a highway. A child under eight years old and at least 4’9” tall or between eight and seventeen years old must be secured by a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt when being transported in or operating a motor vehicle on a highway.

A child restraint device or a safety belt must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations. A motor vehicle is a self-propelled vehicle intended primarily for use and operation on the highways and equipped with safety belts by the manufacturer.

Babies and Children Up to Eight Years Old and Less Than 4’9” Tall

A child under the age of eight years old and less than 4’9” tall is required to be restrained in a child restraint device according to manufacturer’s instructions when being transported in a motor vehicle operated on a highway.

Children Up to Eight Years Old and 4’9” Tall or Taller

A child under the age of eight years old and at least 4’9” tall or taller must be restrained in a child restraint device according to manufacturer’s instructions but must be secured by a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt when being transported in a motor vehicle operated on a highway.

Children Eight to Seventeen Years Old

A child between the ages of eight and seventeen years old must be secured by a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt when being transported in or operating a motor vehicle on a highway.

Penalties for Violations

A violation of Utah’s Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Usage Act is an infraction. You may be fined up to $45.00 but points for a motor vehicle reportable violation may not be assessed. If you fail to restrain or secure more than one child in a child restraint device or a safety belt, you will receive only one citation for that offense.

If you fail to properly restrain a child under eight years old and you have not had any previous violations, the court will waive your fine if you submit proof that you have purchased, rented, or otherwise acquired a child restraint device.

Exemptions

Your child may be exempt from Utah’s Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Usage Act if he or she is the operator of, or a passenger in, a motor vehicle manufactured before July 1, 1966.

Your child may be exempt from Utah’s Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Usage Act if he or she is the operator of, or a passenger in, an off-highway vehicle or a motor-assisted scooter.

Your child may be exempt from Utah’s Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Usage Act if he or she is the operator of, or a passenger in, a motor vehicle in which the operator or passengers have written verification from a licensed physician that the person is unable to wear a safety belt for physical or medical reasons.

Your child may be exempt from Utah’s Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Usage Act if he or she is the operator of, or a passenger in, a motor vehicle or seating position which is not required to be equipped with a safety belt system under federal law. A seating position refers to any area within the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle in which the manufacturer has installed a safety belt.

Your child may be exempt from Utah’s Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Usage Act if he or she is a passenger in a motor vehicle and all seating positions are occupied by other passengers.

Your child may be exempt from Utah’s Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Usage Act if he or she is a passenger of a public transit vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 10,000 pounds.

* Ms. Blake is licensed in the state of Maryland. The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Attorney Denise A. Blake*

Denise practices family law at Blake Law, LLC in Westminster, Maryland. She holds a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Family Law from the University of Baltimore School of Law.