Governor Ned Lamont, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Office of Highway Safety, and AAA today announced that beginning Friday, October 1, 2021, a new Connecticut law will require all passengers to buckle up, regardless of where they are positioned in the vehicle. The legislation enacting the new law was signed by the governor in July.
“Connecticut was one of the first states to pass a mandatory seat belt law more than 30 years ago, however, it only applied to drivers and front-seat passengers,” Governor Lamont said. “I applaud and recognize the efforts of those lawmakers and safety advocates who pushed for passage of this lifesaving measure for more than 20 years. With this new law, passengers and drivers in Connecticut will be safer.”
The new occupant protection law will mandate that all passengers in the back seat buckle up. Pre-existing law only required rear-seat passengers under 16 to buckle up, even though proper restraint use is effective for all ages.
Between 2017 and 2020, there were more than 12,589 injuries of rear seat occupants in Connecticut. During this same period, there were 61 fatalities.
The new law is subject to secondary enforcement, meaning drivers can’t be pulled over just because there is an unbelted adult in the back seat. However, law enforcement can issue a fine for the unbelted passenger if the driver is pulled over for a primary offense, such as speeding. The fine is $50 if the driver is 18 or older and $75 if the driver is under 18.