By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
The Alabama Safety Belt Use Act of 1991 (“ASBUA”), codified at 32-5b-1, is Alabama’s primary law that governs safety belt use. This law requires every adult front seat occupant of a passenger car to have a safety belt fastened to their body while the vehicle is in motion. “Adult” was emphasized because Alabama law imposes a different set of requirements on the parents of small children riding with them in a vehicle. This makes perfect sense. Because a child’s body is significantly smaller in size and weight, it cannot be properly restrained by the same safety belt intended for a full grown adult. To make matters worse, fastening a child in an adult restraint could cause even more severe bodily harm / personal injuries to a child in an automobile accident. For these and other reasons, Alabama’s primary safety belt law refers us to a completely different code section at 32-5-222 which specifically governs child safety restraints. You can read this code section and others at the Official Site for the Code of Alabama.
Because we live in a potentially hazardous world, we are all taught at a very young age how to avoid danger and bodily injuries. “Look before you leap.” “Look both ways before you walk across the road.” “Don’t run with scissors in your hands.” All of these little reminders stick with us to promote our safety, but early on in a child’s life, a big part of a parent’s job is to take certain safety measures into their own hands in addition to teaching children about safety. This article was written in order to introduce parents to the specific laws that require Alabama parents to ensure their childrens’ safety while riding in a motor vehicle.
Parents should follow the seat belt laws for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, whether or not a State has a seat belt law or not, parents should use seat belts / safety belts for themselves and be consistent about the use of child safety and child booster seats.