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Washington state seatbelt question

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  • Washington state seatbelt question

    OK, trying to answer a question for someone. Im looking at RCW 46.61.(687) (688) (seatbelts). Ive read this on the WSP site.

    Can my child or other person ride in the bed of my pickup?
    Yes, provided there are no seats available in the cab. If adults are occupying the passenger seats, they are required to ride in the back so children can ride in the cab.

    Washington does not have a law that prevents persons from riding in pickup beds. However, the seat belt law does require that all passenger positions with safety belts be utilized. Example: If there are five seating positions in the pickup and there are only two adults in the passenger compartment but three other persons in the pickup bed, the driver (depending on the age of the persons in the pickup bed) could be issued a Notice of Infraction.

    What I need to know is where is this in the RCW's because the website says it but it doesnt seem to be in the law books. Anybody know this one?

  • #2
    After reading through the actual law I would say what is posted on the State Police website is directly conflicting with the actual wording of the law. The law says EVERYONE has to wear a seatbelt and does not list truck beds in the exceptions. Since it is not a listed exception I would assume that you cannot legally ride in the bed.

    Laws are funny like this, if they don't exempt it then it doesn't mean its illegal but I think if you went to court you would lose because of the specific wording that requires everyone to wear a seatbelt.

    It boils down to the fact that the state police only enforces the law, they don't make it. If they want to say their state officers aren't going to cite for it, then that is their discretion.

    RCW 46.61.688
    Safety belts, use required — Penalties — Exemptions.

    (1) For the purposes of this section, the term "motor vehicle" includes:

    (a) "Buses," meaning motor vehicles with motive power, except trailers, designed to carry more than ten passengers;

    (b) "Multipurpose passenger vehicles," meaning motor vehicles with motive power, except trailers, designed to carry ten persons or less that are constructed either on a truck chassis or with special features for occasional off-road operation;

    (c) "Neighborhood electric vehicle," meaning a self-propelled, electrically powered four-wheeled motor vehicle whose speed attainable in one mile is more than twenty miles per hour and not more than twenty-five miles per hour and conforms to federal regulations under 49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.500;

    (d) "Medium-speed electric vehicle" meaning a self-propelled, electrically powered four-wheeled motor vehicle, equipped with a roll cage or crush-proof body design, whose speed attainable in one mile is more than thirty miles per hour but not more than thirty-five miles per hour and otherwise meets or exceeds the federal regulations set forth in 49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.500;

    (e) "Passenger cars," meaning motor vehicles with motive power, except multipurpose passenger vehicles, motorcycles, or trailers, designed for carrying ten passengers or less; and

    (f) "Trucks," meaning motor vehicles with motive power, except trailers, designed primarily for the transportation of property.

    (2) This section only applies to motor vehicles that meet the manual seat belt safety standards as set forth in federal motor vehicle safety standard 208 and to neighborhood electric vehicles and medium-speed electric vehicles. This section does not apply to a vehicle occupant for whom no safety belt is available when all designated seating positions as required by federal motor vehicle safety standard 208 are occupied.

    (3) Every person sixteen years of age or older operating or riding in a motor vehicle shall wear the safety belt assembly in a properly adjusted and securely fastened manner.

    (4) No person may operate a motor vehicle unless all child passengers under the age of sixteen years are either: (a) Wearing a safety belt assembly or (b) are securely fastened into an approved child restraint device.

    (5) A person violating this section shall be issued a notice of traffic infraction under chapter 46.63 RCW. A finding that a person has committed a traffic infraction under this section shall be contained in the driver's abstract but shall not be available to insurance companies or employers.

    (6) Failure to comply with the requirements of this section does not constitute negligence, nor may failure to wear a safety belt assembly be admissible as evidence of negligence in any civil action.

    (7) This section does not apply to an operator or passenger who possesses written verification from a licensed physician that the operator or passenger is unable to wear a safety belt for physical or medical reasons.

    (8) The state patrol may adopt rules exempting operators or occupants of farm vehicles, construction equipment, and vehicles that are required to make frequent stops from the requirement of wearing safety belts.
    Last edited by wirefire2; 08-14-2008, 08:42 PM.

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