Are Adults Exempt from Maryland’s Backseat Seat Belt Laws?

No matter where you ride in a car, there is always a danger of getting injured in an accident. These dangers are only increased when you are not wearing a seatbelt. In fact, of the 543 car accident fatalities 2021, 80 of those involved passengers and not just the drivers, according to data from the Maryland Department of Transportation.

These statistics illustrate just how dangerous it can be to be a passenger in a vehicle, especially if you are not wearing your seatbelt. The experienced team of motor vehicle accident attorneys at The Law Office of Hillel Traub know this better than most, having spent years dealing with exactly this type of case.

Maryland State Law and Seatbelts

In the state of Maryland, the backseat seat belt law is considered a secondary offense, meaning that an officer cannot pull over a vehicle just because of the suspicion that a backseat passenger is not using their seatbelt. The fines for failing to follow the seatbelt law are $83 (court costs included) per unbuckled person. Adults receive the tickets themselves, but a driver receives the ticket for any minors in the vehicle. In other words, a driver who is traveling with minors can be fined $83 for failing to buckle up himself and another $83 for each unbuckled minor in the vehicle.

Though Maryland generally has a great record for seatbelt use, the state decided to update its law in 2013 so that all passengers must be always buckled in every seat, including the backseat. This means that all backseat passengers, including adults, are not exempt from Maryland’s seatbelt laws.

What Injury Claims Do Backseat Passengers Have?

Maryland state law requires all motorists to wear seatbelts. Although passengers who fail to buckle up break the law, failure to wear a seatbelt may not “contributory negligence” in the eyes of Maryland law. It is ultimately up to a judge or jury to determine. The law considers the accident to be caused by the actions of the driver, not the passenger’s failure to wear a seat belt, even though it may have exacerbated their injuries, and thus, contributory negligence.

If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you do not have to bring a claim against the driver of the vehicle to obtain compensation for your recoverable damages, which usually include:

  • Medical treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

If you were a passenger in a two-car accident, you may make a claim against the driver of each of the vehicles involved.

Talk to Our Maryland Car Accident Attorneys about Passenger Injury Claims

The Law Office of Hillel Traub can help you if you’re in a situation where you’re questioning your legal rights as a passenger who was injured in an accident. Our law firm is located in Baltimore, but our legal services can be extended to individuals and families in the surrounding areas that need our assistance.

Most likely, an insurance company will offer you a settlement amount that incorrectly reflects what you’ve been through. To that insurance company, you’re another matter to settle as quickly as possible. Our attorneys will fight for you, so you won’t have to worry about financial matters during your recovery. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your options. We can be reached at (410) 580-1100 or through our website’s contact form.