A seat belt violation is a violation of the code requiring people in moving vehicles to wear seat belts for safety. Such codes are extremely common around the world, as wearing seat belts has been shown to radically decrease injuries in accidents. The nature of the violation varies depending on how the code is applied, but in most cases people can expect a fine, and there may be additional penalties.
In some regions, a seat belt violation is a type of moving violation and drivers can be penalized beyond a fine if they commit such violations. In regions with a points system, points will be applied to the driver's license. If a driver racks up too many points, the license can be suspended or terminated. Such systems are designed to provide an incremental system for addressing chronic safety violations. In some cases, points are only assessed if the person not wearing a seat belt was a minor, under the argument that drivers are responsible for the safety of their minor passengers, while adults are responsible for their own behavior.
In other places, it is a non-moving violation. This means only a fine can be levied. The fine in moving and non-moving violations alike is usually paid by the person who was not wearing a seat belt, rather than the driver, except in cases where minors are not wearing their seat belts. The amount of the fine varies and in some areas, signs warning about the fines for not wearing seat belts may be posted on major roadways as a reminder.
Enforcement of seat belt violation cases may be treated as a primary or secondary matter, depending on the law. When it is a primary safety violation, police officers can make a traffic stop on the basis of the seat belt violation alone. When it is secondary, there must be another reason for pulling a car over, such as speeding or having a mechanical violation like a missing light, and the people in the car can be ticketed for not wearing seat belts in addition to the primary violation.
People can challenge a charge of a seat belt violation, although it can be an uphill battle. A police officer who claims that someone was not wearing a seat belt tends to be believed. Many officers use recording devices during traffic stops and these can help resolve disputes about whether people were wearing seat belts.