The driver and the front passenger were using seatbelts which had the shoulder harness cut off and were only using the lap belt portion of the seatbelts. The officer wrote Use of Unlawful Seatbelts on the citation but used the RCW 46.37.510 (Sell Auto Without Seatbelt/Harness). The court filed the case using RCW 46.37.510 and eventually sent a disposition to the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). DOL returned the citation to the court for correction indicating that the officer was citing the wrong RCW. Both people had seatbelts on but the seatbelts were illegal.

Which RCW should be used for Failure to Wear a Seatbelt?

Violations related to illegal seatbelt use should be cited under RCW 46.61.688 Failure to Wear Safety Belt (a traffic infraction with a penalty of $101.00).

RCW 46.37.510 refers to selling a vehicle without seatbelts that include shoulder harnesses, but it also includes language that says the registered owner is responsible for the vehicle having both lap and shoulder belts. Because this is a valid offense, it will remain on the statewide law table as a traffic infraction.

Citations written for Failing to Wear a Seatbelt written under RCW 46.37.510 that are sent to DOL have been and will continue to be returned to the court for correction.

RN id: 936