Driving in reverse? All the exemptions to Georgia's seat belt law

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History of Georgia seat belt laws Georgia lawmakers passed the state's first seat belt law in 1988. That law required front-seat occupants to buckle up. But it exempted vehicles mounted on truck chassis. Since then the law has evolved. And it could change again this year. In 1990, lawmakers clarified the law, specifying that the occupants of pickup trucks were exempt. Three years later they approved a bill requiring minors to be restrained. In 1996, lawmakers made seat belt violations a primary offens

The General Assembly is considering multiple bills that would end a major exemption to Georgia’s seat belt law. The law requires anyone in the front seat of a passenger vehicle to buckle up. And it requires anyone 17 and under in the back seats to wear seat belts. But adults in the back seats are exempt.

state Senate committee has recommended Georgia eliminating that exemption. But there are other people who are exempt from wearing seat belts under the law, according to the committee's report. The law does not apply to:

*Motorcycles, motor-driven cycles or off-road vehicles.

*Pickup trucks used by an owner, driver or occupant 18 years or older for agricultural purposes that are usual and normal to the user’s farming operation.

*Motor vehicles designed to carry 11 to 15 passengers manufactured before July 1, 2015, and which do not have manufacturer-installed seat belts.

*A driver or passenger frequently stopping and leaving the vehicle to deliver property from the vehicle, if the speed of the vehicle between stops does not exceed 15 m.p.h.

*A driver or passenger possessing a written statement from a physician that such a person is unable, for medical or physical reasons, to wear a seat belt.

*A driver or passenger possessing any official certificate or license endorsement issued by the appropriate agency in another state or country indicating that the driver is unable – for medical, physical or other valid reasons – to wear a seat belt.

*A driver operating a passenger vehicle in reverse.

*A passenger vehicle manufactured before 1965.

*A passenger vehicle which is not required to be equipped with seat belts under federal law.

*A passenger vehicle operated by a rural letter carrier of the U.S. Postal Service while performing duties as a letter carrier.

*A passenger vehicle from which a person is delivering newspapers.

*A passenger vehicle performing an emergency service.

Chances are, you don't qualify for one of these exemptions. Maybe that's why a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey found overwhelming support for requiring everyone to buckle up.

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