Code Section Group

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 12. EQUIPMENT OF VEHICLES [24000 - 28160]

  ( Division 12 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 5. Other Equipment [27000 - 28160]

  ( Chapter 5 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

ARTICLE 3. Safety Belts and Inflatable Restraint Systems [27302 - 27319]
  ( Heading of Article 3 amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 449, Sec. 1. )

27302.
  

No person shall sell or offer for sale any seatbelt or attachments thereto for use in a vehicle unless it complies with requirements established by the department.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 723.)

27304.
  

All vehicles owned and utilized in driver training by a driver training school licensed under the provisions of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 11100) of Division 5 or in a course in automobile driver training in any secondary school maintained under the Education Code shall be equipped with a seatbelt for the driver and each passenger. Such seatbelt shall comply with requirements established by the department.

It shall be unlawful for any driver or passenger to operate or ride in such a vehicle while it is being operated for the purposes of driver training, unless such person is utilizing an installed seatbelt in the proper manner.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 723.)

27305.
  

All publicly owned firefighting vehicles designed for and used in responding to emergency fire calls and in combating fires shall be equipped with seatbelts for each seat utilized by personnel when such vehicles are being operated. Such seatbelts shall comply with requirements established by the department.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 723.)

27314.
  

(a) No dealer shall sell or offer for sale any used passenger vehicle that was manufactured on or after January 1, 1962, other than a motorcycle, unless it is equipped with at least two seatbelts which are installed for the use of persons in the front seat of the vehicle.

(b) No dealer shall sell or offer for sale any used passenger vehicle manufactured on or after January 1, 1968, other than a motorcycle, unless it is equipped with seatbelts for each seating position.

(c) Seatbelts required in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall comply with regulations established by the department.

(d) The requirements of this section shall not apply to sales to dealers, automobile dismantlers, or junk dealers.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 723.)

27314.5.
  

(a) (1) Subject to paragraph (3), no dealer shall sell or offer for sale any used passenger vehicle of a model year of 1972 to 1990, inclusive, unless there is affixed to the window of the left front door or, if there is no window, to another suitable location so that it may be seen and read by a person standing outside the vehicle at that location, a notice, printed in 14-point type, which reads as follows:

“WARNING: While use of all seat belts reduces the chance of ejection, failure to install and use shoulder harnesses with lap belts can result in serious or fatal injuries in some crashes. Lap-only belts increase the chance of head and neck injury by allowing the upper torso to move unrestrained in a crash and increase the chance of spinal column and abdominal injuries by concentrating excessive force on the lower torso. Because children carry a disproportionate amount of body weight above the waist, they are more likely to sustain those injuries. Shoulder harnesses may be available that can be retrofitted in this vehicle. For more information call the Auto Safety Hotline at 1-800-424-9393.”

(2) The notice shall remain affixed to the vehicle pursuant to paragraph (1) at all times that the vehicle is for sale.

(3) The notice is not required to be affixed to any vehicle equipped with both a lap belt and a shoulder harness for the driver and one passenger in the front seat of the vehicle and for at least two passengers in the rear seat of the vehicle.

(b) (1) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (a), and subject to paragraph (3) and subdivision (c), the dealer shall affix, to one rear seat lap belt buckle of every used passenger vehicle of a model year of 1972 to 1990, inclusive, that has a rear seat, a notice, printed in 10-point type, that reads as follows:

“WARNING: While use of all seat belts reduces the chance of ejection, failure to install and use shoulder harnesses with lap belts can result in serious or fatal injuries in some crashes. Shoulder harnesses may be available that can be retrofitted in this vehicle. For more information, call the Auto Safety Hotline at 1-800-424-9393.”

(2) The notice shall remain affixed to the vehicle pursuant to paragraph (1) at all times that the vehicle is for sale.

(3) The message is not required to be affixed to any vehicle either equipped with both a lap belt and a shoulder harness for at least two passengers in the rear seat or having no rear seat lap belts.

(c) A dealer is not in violation of subdivision (b) unless a private nonprofit entity has furnished a supply of the appropriate notices suitable for affixing as required free of charge or, having requested a resupply of notices, has not received the resupply.

(d) The department shall furnish, to a nonprofit private entity for purposes of this section, for a fee not to exceed its costs in so furnishing, at least once every six months, a list of all licensed dealers who sell used passenger vehicles.

(Amended by Stats. 1997, Ch. 619, Sec. 11. Effective January 1, 1998.)

27315.
  

(a) The Legislature finds that a mandatory seatbelt law will contribute to reducing highway deaths and injuries by encouraging greater usage of existing manual seatbelts, that automatic crash protection systems that require no action by vehicle occupants offer the best hope of reducing deaths and injuries, and that encouraging the use of manual safety belts is only a partial remedy for addressing this major cause of death and injury. The Legislature declares that the enactment of this section is intended to be compatible with support for federal motor vehicle safety standards requiring automatic crash protection systems and should not be used in any manner to rescind federal requirements for installation of automatic restraints in new cars.

(b) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

(c) (1) As used in this section, “motor vehicle” means a passenger vehicle, a motortruck, or a truck tractor, but does not include a motorcycle.

(2) For purposes of this section, a “motor vehicle” also means a farm labor vehicle, regardless of the date of certification under Section 31401.

(d) (1) A person shall not operate a motor vehicle on a highway unless that person and all passengers 16 years of age or over are properly restrained by a safety belt. This paragraph does not apply to the operator of a taxicab, as defined in Section 27908, when the taxicab is driven on a city street and is engaged in the transportation of a fare-paying passenger. The safety belt requirement established by this paragraph is the minimum safety standard applicable to employees being transported in a motor vehicle. This paragraph does not preempt more stringent or restrictive standards imposed by the Labor Code or another state or federal regulation regarding the transportation of employees in a motor vehicle.

(2) For purposes of this section the phrase, “properly restrained by a safety belt” means that the lower (lap) portion of the belt crosses the hips or upper thighs of the occupant and the upper (shoulder) portion of the belt, if present, crosses the chest in front of the occupant.

(3) The operator of a limousine for hire or the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 165, shall not operate the limousine for hire or authorized emergency vehicle unless the operator and any passengers eight years of age or over in the front seat, are properly restrained by a safety belt.

(4) The operator of a taxicab shall not operate the taxicab unless any passengers eight years of age or over in the front seat, are properly restrained by a safety belt.

(e) A person 16 years of age or over shall not be a passenger in a motor vehicle on a highway unless that person is properly restrained by a safety belt. This subdivision does not apply to a passenger in a sleeper berth, as defined in subdivision (x) of Section 1201 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations.

(f) An owner of a motor vehicle, including an owner or operator of a taxicab, as defined in Section 27908, or a limousine for hire, operated on a highway shall maintain safety belts in good working order for the use of the occupants of the vehicle. The safety belts shall conform to motor vehicle safety standards established by the United States Department of Transportation. This subdivision, however, does not require installation or maintenance of safety belts if it is not required by the laws of the United States applicable to the vehicle at the time of its initial sale.

(g) This section does not apply to a passenger or operator with a physically disabling condition or medical condition that would prevent appropriate restraint in a safety belt, if the condition is duly certified by a licensed physician and surgeon or by a licensed chiropractor who shall state the nature of the condition, as well as the reason the restraint is inappropriate. This section also does not apply to a public employee, if the public employee is in an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 165, or to a passenger in a seat behind the front seat of an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 165 operated by the public employee, unless required by the agency employing the public employee.

(h) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 42001, a violation of subdivision (d), (e), or (f) is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense, and a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense. In lieu of the fine and any penalty assessment or court costs, the court, pursuant to Section 42005, may order that a person convicted of a first offense attend a school for traffic violators or another court-approved program in which the proper use of safety belts is demonstrated.

(i) In a civil action, a violation of subdivision (d), (e), or (f), or information of a violation of subdivision (h), does not establish negligence as a matter of law or negligence per se for comparative fault purposes, but negligence may be proven as a fact without regard to the violation.

(j) If the United States Secretary of Transportation fails to adopt safety standards for manual safety belt systems by September 1, 1989, a motor vehicle manufactured after that date for sale or sold in this state shall not be registered unless it contains a manual safety belt system that meets the performance standards applicable to automatic crash protection devices adopted by the United States Secretary of Transportation pursuant to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 (49 C.F.R. 571.208) as in effect on January 1, 1985.

(k) A motor vehicle offered for original sale in this state that has been manufactured on or after September 1, 1989, shall comply with the automatic restraint requirements of Section S4.1.2.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 (49 C.F.R. 571.208), as published in Volume 49 of the Federal Register, No. 138, page 29009. An automobile manufacturer that sells or delivers a motor vehicle subject to this subdivision, and fails to comply with this subdivision, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each sale or delivery of a noncomplying motor vehicle.

(l) Compliance with subdivision (j) or (k) by a manufacturer shall be made by self-certification in the same manner as self-certification is accomplished under federal law.

(m) This section does not apply to a person actually engaged in delivery of newspapers to customers along the person’s route if the person is properly restrained by a safety belt prior to commencing and subsequent to completing delivery on the route.

(n) This section does not apply to a person actually engaged in collection and delivery activities as a rural delivery carrier for the United States Postal Service if the person is properly restrained by a safety belt prior to stopping at the first box and subsequent to stopping at the last box on the route.

(o) This section does not apply to a driver actually engaged in the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials along that driver’s collection route if the driver is properly restrained by a safety belt prior to commencing and subsequent to completing the collection route.

(p) Subdivisions (d), (e), (f), (g), and (h) shall become inoperative immediately upon the date that the United States Secretary of Transportation, or his or her delegate, determines to rescind the portion of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 (49 C.F.R. 571.208) that requires the installation of automatic restraints in new motor vehicles, except that those subdivisions shall not become inoperative if the secretary’s decision to rescind that Standard No. 208 is not based, in any respect, on the enactment or continued operation of those subdivisions.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 474, Sec. 1. (SB 929) Effective January 1, 2012.)

27315.1.
  

Section 27315 applies to any person in a fully enclosed three-wheeled motor vehicle that is not less than seven feet in length and not less than four feet in width, and has an unladen weight of 900 pounds or more.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 710, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1998.)

27315.3.
  

(a) As used in this section, “passenger motor vehicle” means a passenger vehicle as defined in Section 465 and a motortruck as defined in Section 410 of less than 6,001 pounds unladen weight, but does not include a motorcycle as defined in Section 400.

(b) Every sheriff’s department and city police department and the Department of the California Highway Patrol shall maintain safety belts in good working order for the use of occupants of a vehicle that it operates on a highway for the purpose of patrol. The safety belts shall conform to motor vehicle safety standards established by the United States Department of Transportation. This subdivision does not, however, require installation or maintenance of safety belts where not required by the laws of the United States applicable to the vehicle at the time of its initial sale.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 42001, a violation of subdivision (b) is an infraction punishable by a fine, including all penalty assessments and court costs imposed on the convicted department, of not more than twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense, and a fine, including all penalty assessments and court costs imposed on the convicted department, of not more than fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

(d) (1) For a violation of subdivision (b), in addition to the fines provided for pursuant to subdivision (c) and the penalty assessments provided for pursuant to Section 1464 of the Penal Code, an additional penalty assessment of two dollars ($2) shall be levied for a first offense, and an additional penalty assessment of five dollars ($5) shall be levied for any subsequent offense.

(2) All money collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be utilized in accordance with Section 1464 of the Penal Code.

(e) In a civil action, a violation of subdivision (b) or information of a violation of subdivision (c) shall not establish negligence as a matter of law or negligence per se for comparative fault purposes, but negligence may be proven as a fact without regard to the violation.

(f) Subdivisions (b) and (c) shall become inoperative immediately upon the date that the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, or his or her delegate, determines to rescind the portion of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 (49 C.F.R. 571.208) that requires the installation of automatic restraints in new passenger motor vehicles, except that those subdivisions shall not become inoperative if the secretary’s decision to rescind Standard No. 208 is not based, in any respect, on the enactment or continued operation of those subdivisions or subdivisions (d) to (h), inclusive, of Section 27315.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 474, Sec. 2. (SB 929) Effective January 1, 2012.)

27315.5.
  

All law enforcement agencies shall, not later than January 1, 1991, establish a policy and issue an order, in writing, which states whether or not their officers are required to wear seat belts. When a law enforcement agency is developing a safety belt policy, the agency shall consider the officer’s safety, comfort, and convenience.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 33, Sec. 3. Effective March 26, 1990.)

27316.
  

(a) Unless specifically prohibited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all schoolbuses purchased or leased for use in California shall be equipped at all designated seating positions with a combination pelvic and upper torso passenger restraint system, if the schoolbus is either of the following:

(1) Type 1, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 1201 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, and is manufactured on or after July 1, 2005.

(2) Type 2, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1201 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, and is manufactured on or after July 1, 2004.

(b) For purposes of this section, a “passenger restraint system” means any of the following:

(1) A restraint system that is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 209, for a type 2 seatbelt assembly, and with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 210, as those standards were in effect on the date the schoolbus was manufactured.

(2) A restraint system certified by the schoolbus manufacturer that is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 222 and incorporates a type 2 lap/shoulder restraint system.

(c) No person, school district, or organization, with respect to a schoolbus equipped with passenger restraint systems pursuant to this section, may be charged for a violation of this code or any regulation adopted thereunder requiring a passenger to use a passenger restraint system, if a passenger on the schoolbus fails to use or improperly uses the passenger restraint system.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature, in implementing this section, that school pupil transportation providers work to prioritize the allocation of schoolbuses purchased, leased, or contracted for on or after July 1, 2004, for type 2 schoolbuses, or on or after July 1, 2005, for type 1 schoolbuses, to ensure that elementary level schoolbus passengers receive first priority for new schoolbuses whenever feasible.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 397, Sec. 7. (SB 810) Effective January 1, 2018.)

27316.5.
  

(a) Unless specifically prohibited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all type 2 school pupil activity buses, manufactured on or after July 1, 2004, purchased or leased for use in California shall be equipped at all designated seating positions with a combination pelvic and upper torso passenger restraint system.

(b) For purposes of this section, a “passenger restraint system” is either of the following:

(1) A restraint system that is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 209, for a type 2 seatbelt assembly, and with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 210, as those standards were in effect on the date that the school pupil activity bus was manufactured.

(2) A restraint system certified by the school pupil activity bus manufacturer that is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 222 and incorporates a type 2 lap-shoulder restraint system.

(c) No person, school district, or organization, with respect to a type 2 school pupil activity bus equipped with passenger restraint systems pursuant to this section, may be charged for a violation of this code or any regulation adopted thereunder requiring a passenger to use a passenger restraint system, if a passenger on the school pupil activity bus fails to use or improperly uses the passenger restraint system.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 397, Sec. 8. (SB 810) Effective January 1, 2018.)

27317.
  

(a) A person shall not knowingly and intentionally manufacture, import, install, reinstall, distribute, sell, or offer for sale any device intended to replace a supplemental restraint system component in any motor vehicle if the device is a counterfeit supplemental restraint system component or a nonfunctional airbag, or does not meet federal safety requirements as provided in Section 571.208 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(b) A person shall not knowingly and intentionally sell, install, or reinstall in a vehicle, any device that causes the vehicle’s diagnostic systems to fail to warn when the vehicle is equipped with a counterfeit supplemental restraint system component or nonfunctional airbag, or when no airbag is installed.

(c) A violation of subdivision (a) or (b) is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(d) An installation or reinstallation shall not have occurred for purposes of this section until the work is complete.

(e) The following definitions shall apply for purposes of this section:

(1) “Airbag” means a motor vehicle inflatable occupant restraint system device that is part of a supplemental restraint system.

(2) “Counterfeit supplemental restraint system component” means a replacement supplemental restraint system component, including, but not limited to, an airbag that displays a mark identical or substantially similar to the genuine mark of a motor vehicle manufacturer or a supplier of parts to the manufacturer of a motor vehicle without authorization from that manufacturer or supplier, respectively.

(3) “Nonfunctional airbag” means a replacement airbag that meets any of the following criteria:

(A) The airbag was previously deployed or damaged.

(B) The airbag has an electric fault that is detected by the vehicle’s airbag diagnostic systems when the installation procedure is completed and the vehicle is returned to the customer who requested the work to be performed or when ownership is intended to be transferred.

(C) The airbag includes a part or object, including, but not limited to, a supplemental restraint system component installed in a motor vehicle to mislead the owner or operator of the motor vehicle into believing that a functional airbag has been installed.

(D) The airbag is subject to the prohibitions of subsection (j) of Section 30120 of Title 49 of the United States Code.

(4) “Supplemental restraint system,” commonly referred to as an “SRS,” means a passive inflatable motor vehicle occupant crash protection system designed for use in conjunction with active restraint systems, as defined in Section 571.208 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. A supplemental restraint system includes one or more airbags and all components required to ensure that an airbag works as designed by the vehicle manufacturer, including both of the following:

(A) The airbag operates in the event of a crash.

(B) The airbag is designed in accordance with federal motor vehicle safety standards for the specific make, model, and year of the motor vehicle in which it is or will be installed.

(f) This section does not affect any duties, rights, or remedies otherwise available at law.

(g) This section does not preclude prosecution under any other law.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 694, Sec. 2. (AB 2387) Effective January 1, 2017.)

27318.
  

(a) A passenger who is 16 years of age or older in a bus shall be properly restrained by a safety belt.

(b) A parent, legal guardian, or chartering party shall not transport on a bus, or permit to be transported on a bus, a child, ward, or passenger who is eight years of age or older, but under 16 years of age, unless he or she is properly restrained by a safety belt.

(c) Except as provided in subdivision (d), a parent, legal guardian, or chartering party shall not transport on a bus, or permit to be transported on a bus, a child, ward, or passenger who is under eight years of age and under four feet nine inches in height, unless he or she is acceptably restrained by a safety belt.

(d) If it is not possible to ensure a child, ward, or passenger who is under eight years of age and under four feet nine inches in height is acceptably restrained by a safety belt because of his or her size, a parent, legal guardian, or chartering party shall either secure him or her in an appropriate child passenger restraint system that meets applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, or if the child, ward, or passenger is under two years of age, may authorize a parent, legal guardian, or chartering party to hold him or her.

(e) (1) For purposes of this section, “acceptably restrained by a safety belt” means all of the following:

(A) The latch plate is securely fastened in the buckle.

(B) The lap belt shall be adjusted to fit low and tight across the hips or upper thighs, not the stomach area.

(C) The shoulder belt shall be adjusted snugly across the chest and the middle of the shoulder, away from the neck.

(D) The shoulder belt shall not be placed behind the back or under the arm.

(2) For purposes of this section, “properly restrained by a safety belt” means that the lap belt crosses the hips or upper thighs of the occupant and the shoulder belt, if present, crosses the chest in front of the occupant.

(3) For purposes of this section, “bus” means a bus that is equipped with safety belts, including a bus that is required to be equipped with a seatbelt assembly pursuant to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 (49 C.F.R. 571.208).

(f) Subdivisions (a), (b), (c), and (d) do not apply to a passenger that is leaving, has left, or is returning from his or her seat to use an onboard bathroom.

(g) If the bus is equipped with safety belts, the motor carrier shall maintain safety belts in good working order for the use of passengers of the vehicle.

(h) A motor carrier operating a bus equipped with safety belts shall do one of the following:

(1) Require the bus driver, before departure of a bus carrying passengers, to inform passengers of the requirement to wear the seatbelt under California law and inform passengers that not wearing a seatbelt is punishable by a fine.

(2) Post, or allow to be posted, signs or placards that inform passengers of the requirement to wear a seatbelt under California law and that not wearing a seatbelt is punishable by a fine. The signs or placards shall be in a font type and font size that is reasonably easy to read and shall be affixed to a bus in multiple, conspicuous locations.

(i) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 42001, a violation of subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d) is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense, and a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

(j) This section does not apply to a schoolbus described in Section 27316 or a school pupil activity bus described in Section 27316.5.

(k) This section shall be operative July 1, 2018.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 593, Sec. 2. (SB 20) Effective January 1, 2018. Section operative July 1, 2018, by its own provisions.)

27319.
  

(a) If a bus is equipped with a driver safety belt, the driver of the bus shall not operate the vehicle unless he or she is properly restrained by the safety belt.

(b) If a bus is equipped with a driver safety belt, the motor carrier shall maintain the safety belt in good working order for the use of the driver.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 42001, a violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

(d) The requirements of this section are intended to satisfy the requirements of Section 392.16 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or any similar federal law or regulation, but shall remain in effect in the absence of those laws.

(e) This section shall be operative July 1, 2018.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 593, Sec. 3. (SB 20) Effective January 1, 2018. Section operative July 1, 2018, by its own provisions.)

VEHVehicle Code - VEH3.