Am I Legally Required To Wear A Seat Belt In Washington State?

I'll be the first to admit. I was one of those people who didn't think that a statewide seat belt law should be pushed on anyone. I was 18 at the time Washington State passed the law and I was against it.


Can I Get An Exemption From Wearing A Seat Belt In Washington State?

I now have to admit years later that I was wrong. I couldn't imagine not buckling up today and I almost feel naked when I'm not strapped in. Luckily, in the few accidents I have been in, I've always had my seat belt buckled.

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So why write an article on reasons why you don't have to wear a seat belt in Washington State?

I didn't realize after all these years that there are exemptions to every rule and Washington State is no different.


Here are some reasons why you may be exempt from wearing a seat belt in Washington State:

  1. Medical Exemptions: Some individuals with specific medical conditions might be exempt from wearing a seat belt. A doctor's note or medical documentation might be required to claim this exemption.
  2. Vehicles Not Equipped with Seat Belts: Some older or specialized vehicles might not be equipped with seat belts. However, if seat belts are present in a vehicle, their use is generally required.
  3. Certain Situations: There could be specific instances where seat belt use is temporarily waived, such as when a person is making frequent stops or exits from the vehicle.
  4. Public Safety Officials: Some on-duty law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel might be exempt while performing certain tasks.
  5. Certain Modes of Transportation: Some modes of transportation like buses might have different rules regarding seat belt use due to the design and purpose of the vehicle.

I noticed in the RCW code, for the most part, medical conditions, and farm equipment seem to be the biggest exemptions but always read up on the law so you are informed.

There are big penalties for not wearing your seatbelt in Washington State so this article isn't a reason not to wear your seatbelt, I just outlined a few reasons why you may be exempt from wearing one.

Your own safety should be your #1 concern and you can read more about the law here.

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