Can I get fined for not wearing a seat belt properly?

Question Details: I was pulled over by a police officer and fined for not wearing a seat belt. I was actually wearing one, but it was fastened from under my armpit to hip (rather than shoulder to hip). Can I still get fined for wearing a seat belt this way?

Filed under Driving and Traffic | 4411 View(s)

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

Yes, you can be fined by the Police for incorrectly wearing your seat belt, but it is unclear from the information you have provided whether you were wearing the seat belt correctly or incorrectly.

If you wear a seat belt incorrectly you can be fined $150. Alternatively, the Police may charge you with an offence and you can be ordered by a court to pay a fine of $1,000. For more information on infringement fees and minor offences for breaching traffic laws, see the Community Law Manual here: www.communitylaw.org.nz.

Seat belts must be worn in a way that provide you with sufficient protection in case you have an accident. Wearing seat belts incorrectly can put you in increased danger. From the information you have provided, it appears that the Police have determined you were not wearing your seat belt in a way that provided you with sufficient protection. If so, you will have breached the law unless there is a good reason you did not wear the seat belt correctly. If so, you can write to the Police explaining your reason. If the Police continue to pursue this fine and you do not pay it, you can go to court and argue why you had a good reason to wear your seat belt in the way you did.

If you choose to dispute this fine, we recommend that you seek further legal advice.Your local Community Law Centre can tell you about advice options in your area: www.communitylaw.org.nz.

Answered 25 Jul 2013. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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