Judge’s Corner

Seatbelt Use   

Seatbelt   Section 61-13-103. Seatbelt use required – exceptions. (1) A driver may not operate a motor vehicle upon a highway of the state of Montana unless each occupant of a designated seating position is wearing a properly adjusted and fastened seatbelt or, if 61-9-420 applies, is properly restrained in a child safety restraint.

   (2) The provisions of this section do not apply to: (a) an occupant of a motor vehicle who possesses a written statement from a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse, as defined in 37-8-102, that the occupant is unable to wear a seatbelt for medical reasons; (b) an occupant of a motor vehicle in which all seatbelts are being used by other occupants; (c) an operator of a motorcycle or a motor-driven cycle; (d) an occupant of a vehicle licensed as special mobile equipment; or (e) an occupant who makes frequent stops with a motor vehicle during official job duties and who may be exempted by the department.

  (3) The department may adopt rules to implement subsection (2)(e).

   (4) The department or its agent may not require a driver who may be in violation of this section to stop except: (a) upon reasonable cause to believe that the driver has violated another traffic regulation or that the driver’s vehicle is unsafe or not equipped as required by law; or (b) if a person in the vehicle who is under six years of age and weighs less than 60 pounds is not properly restrained under 61-9-420 or this section.

   Section 61-13-104. Penalty – no record permitted. (1) A driver who violates 61-13-103 shall be fined $20, but the violation is not a misdemeanor pursuant to 45-2-101, 46-18-236, 61-8-104, or 61-8-711. A  violation of 61-13-103 may not be counted as a moving violation for purposes of suspending a driver’s license under 61-11-203(2)(m). Bond for this offense is $20 and a jail sentence may not be imposed.

   (2) A violation of 61-1-103 may not be recorded or charged against the driver’s record of a person violating 61-13-103.

   (3) An insurance company may not hold a violation of 61-13-103 against the insured or increase the insured’s premiums due to a violation of 61-13-103.

   Fallon County Justice Court and Baker City Court want to remind everybody to buckle up!