Let's start off by saying that wearing a seat belt belt in the front seat is the law in all but one state.

You know I'm talking about New Hampshire, where there is no seat belt law at all. Wear it, don't wear it, it's totally up to you. And that includes the back seat.

But what about the back seat in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut? Do you put your seat belt on back there? Do you legally have to? With how much we cross state lines around New England, this information is good to know.

Federal seat belt laws only deal with car manufacturers, so federal law means that every seat in a car driven in the United States needs a safety belt. However, each state gets to decide if it's illegal to wear one or not, according to Drive Safe Online, and that includes front seat versus back seat.

As we already know, every state in New England (except New Hampshire) has a law stating that wearing a seatbelt while driving or riding in the passenger seat is mandatory.

However, things change in the back seat.

According to the Government Highway Safety Association, 40 states require you to wear your seat belt while riding in the backseat of a vehicle. Obviously, this means that 10 states are just fine if you don't wear one:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio

Meanwhile, those New England states that enforce backseat safety belts have primary or secondary enforcement laws.

'Primary' means you can be pulled over if a police officer notices that your backseat passenger isn't buckled up, according to Drive Safe Online. These include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and Vermont if you're under 18.

'Secondary' means you can't get pulled over if your backseat passenger isn't wearing a seat belt, but if you're pulled over for another reason and your passenger in the backseat isn't buckled in, then that can be added to your violations. Massachusetts and Vermont (if you're 18+) have this law on the books.

If you want to see where all states stand, click here.

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