Seat belt laws in commercial vehicles

Written by sarah arnette
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Seat belt laws in commercial vehicles
The law does not require bus passengers to wear seat belts. (Oldtimer Bus image by fotolium from

The wisdom that seat belts save lives is so commonly held, that they are required for noncommercial vehicles nationwide. That's not necessarily true for commercial vehicles. The specific laws for seat belts vary by the state and the type of vehicle, so you should contact your state's Department of Transportation for details.

Travelling Backward

Stand-up lift trucks and other vehicles that specialise in driving backward are exempt from seat belts in most cases. This is due to the frequency of the driver getting off the vehicle and the limited speeds usually reached. In addition, if the driver stops suddenly while driving backward she would be pushed into the seat rather than into the steering column.


Bus passengers are not required to wear seat belts. Most vehicles carrying over ten people and older than a certain year do not require seat belts either. The specific year varies from state to state and a vehicle that did not require seat belts in one state may require seat belts in another state, so it is best to check.

Delivery Trucks

Commercial vehicles that require the driver or passenger to frequently leave the vehicle to deliver packages, papers or letters are often exempt from seat belt laws. This is due to the slower speeds reached between stops and the frequency of the person leaving the commercial vehicle.

Emergency Vehicles

Ambulances and firetrucks are exempt from seat belt laws, although drivers frequently do wear seat belts. This is due to the need for the ambulance and firetruck passengers to prepare for their arrival to the emergency or to handle the conditions of the individual being treated after the emergency.

Most Vehicles

All other commercial vehicle riders and drivers should wear seat belts. Seat belts will protect the person in the event of a collision or other emergency. This recommended safety device will enhance the effectiveness of other safety equipment in the vehicle including air bags and anti-lock brakes.

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