What Are the Seat Belt Laws for Old Cars?

by Melanie Fleury
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Seat belt laws can vary from state to state, but there are some standard rules. Each state has its own laws that address seat belt requirements and rules for children and the types of seats they use. Adults should always be buckled in a seat belt for their own safety.

Before 1965

If the car is older than 1965, the seat belt law is not valid because cars manufactured before this date often did not have seat belts. If the car has been fitted with belts, then seat belt laws apply even to older vehicles.

After 1965

After 1965, every car that carries passengers is required to have at least two shoulder harness type belts in each passenger seat as well as all front seat positions. Every one in the car should be buckled; children under 1 year of age in a rear facing car seat; those over 4 years and 40 pounds can sit in a booster seat.


The driver of a car can get a ticket for passengers not wearing seatbelts unless he can prove the vehicle did not have seatbelts installed. If the car does not have seatbelts, then the current seat belt laws cannot be followed.

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