Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
8/19/2019

Article 13. Child Restraints.

§ 46.2-1095. Child restraint devices required when transporting certain children; safety belts for passengers less than 18 years old required.

A. Any person who drives on the highways of Virginia any motor vehicle manufactured after January 1, 1968, shall ensure that any child, up to age eight, whom he transports therein is provided with and properly secured in a child restraint device of a type which meets the standards adopted by the United States Department of Transportation. Such child restraint device shall not be forward-facing until at least (i) the child reaches two years of age or (ii) the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing child restraint device as prescribed by the manufacturer of the device. Further, child restraint devices shall be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. In the event the vehicle does not have a back seat, the child restraint device may be placed in the front passenger seat only if the vehicle is either not equipped with a passenger side airbag or the passenger side airbag has been deactivated.

B. Any person transporting another person less than 18 years old, except for those required pursuant to subsection A to be secured in a child restraint device, shall ensure that such person is provided with and properly secured by an appropriate safety belt system when driving on the highways of Virginia in any motor vehicle manufactured after January 1, 1968, equipped or required by the provisions of this title to be equipped with a safety belt system, consisting of lap belts, shoulder harnesses, combinations thereof or similar devices.

C. A violation of this section shall not constitute negligence, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages in a civil action.

D. A violation of this section may be charged on the uniform traffic summons form.

E. Nothing in this section shall apply to any person operating taxicabs, school buses, executive sedans, or limousines. The provisions of (i) subsection B shall not apply to any person operating an emergency medical services agency vehicle, fire company vehicle, fire department vehicle, or law-enforcement agency vehicle while in the performance of his official duties and (ii) subsection A shall not apply to any person operating any such vehicle in the performance of his official duties, under exigent circumstances, provided that no child restraint device is readily available.

1982, c. 634, § 46.1-314.2; 1984, c. 280; 1986, c. 283; 1989, c. 727; 1992, cc. 119, 405; 1997, c. 793; 2000, c. 736; 2002, cc. 358, 616, 660; 2007, cc. 91, 935; 2010, c. 661; 2018, c. 402; 2019, cc. 196, 319.

§ 46.2-1096. Exceptions for certain children.

Whenever any physician licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth or any other state determines, through accepted medical procedures, that use of a child restraint system by a particular child would be impractical by reason of the child's weight or height, physical unfitness, or other medical reason, the child shall be exempt from the provisions of this article. Any person transporting a child so exempted shall carry on his or her person or in the vehicle a signed written statement of the physician identifying the child so exempted and stating the grounds therefor.

1982, c. 634, § 46.1-314.3; 1983, c. 296; 1989, c. 727; 2018, c. 402.

§ 46.2-1097. Child restraint devices; special fund created.

The Department of Health shall operate a program to promote, purchase, and distribute child restraint devices to applicants who need a child restraint device but are unable to acquire one because of financial inability. A special fund, known as the Child Restraint Device Special Fund, shall fund the program. The Department of Health shall determine the number of child restraint devices that can be purchased by the program, based upon the amount of funds in the Child Restraint Device Special Fund, provided, however, that the requirements of the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.) shall not apply to child restraint device purchases by the Department of Health pursuant to this section. The Child Restraint Device Special Fund shall consist of all civil penalties that are collected pursuant to § 46.2-1098 and other funds that may be appropriated for that purpose.

1982, c. 634, § 46.1-314.4; 1984, c. 778; 1986, c. 283; 1989, c. 727; 1996, c. 145.

§ 46.2-1098. Penalties; violations not negligence per se.

Any person, including those subject to jurisdiction of a juvenile and domestic relations district court, found guilty of violating this article shall be subject to a civil penalty of $50, which shall not be suspended in whole or in part, for a violation of § 46.2-1095; however, any person found guilty of violating § 46.2-1095 a second or subsequent time when the violations occurred on different dates shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500. An additional civil penalty of $20 shall be imposed for failure to carry a statement as required by § 46.2-1096. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of § 46.2-1095, the court may waive or suspend the imposition of the penalty for a violation of § 46.2-1095 if it finds that the failure of the defendant to comply with the section was due to his financial inability to acquire a child restraint system. All civil penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the Child Restraint Device Special Fund as provided for in § 46.2-1097.

No assignment of demerit points shall be made under Article 19 (§ 46.2-489 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of this title and no court costs shall be assessed for violation of § 46.2-1095.

Violations of this article shall not constitute negligence per se; nor shall violation of this article constitute a defense to any claim for personal injuries to a child or recovery of medical expenses for injuries sustained in any motor vehicle accident.

1982, c. 634, § 46.1-314.5; 1989, c. 727; 1992, cc. 119, 405; 2002, c. 358; 2008, c. 714.

§ 46.2-1099. Further exemptions.

This article shall not apply to:

The transporting of any child in a vehicle having an interior design which makes the use of such device impractical; or

The transporting of children by public transportation, bus, school bus, or farm vehicle.

For the purposes of this section, "farm vehicle" means a vehicle which is either (i) exempt from registration pursuant to §§ 46.2-664, 46.2-665, 46.2-666, 46.2-667, 46.2-670, or § 46.2-672, (ii) registered as a farm vehicle pursuant to § 46.2-698, or (iii) owned by a resident of another state under whose laws the vehicle is either registered as a farm vehicle or exempt from registration by virtue of its use as a farm vehicle.

1982, c. 634, § 46.1-314.6; 1989, c. 727; 1992, cc. 119, 405; 1993, c. 181.

§ 46.2-1100. Use of standard seat belts permitted for certain children.

The use of a seat belt of the type which is standard equipment shall not violate this article if (i) the affected child is at least four years old but less than eight years old and (ii) any physician licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth or any other state determines that use of a child restraint system by a particular child would be impractical by reason of the child's weight, physical fitness, or other medical reason, provided that any person transporting a child so exempted shall carry on his person or in the vehicle a signed written statement of the physician identifying the child so exempted and stating the grounds for the determination.

1982, c. 634, § 46.1-314.7; 1989, c. 727; 2002, cc. 616, 660; 2007, cc. 91, 935.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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