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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Seat Belt Usage

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a fixed route transit operator required to ask a rider who uses and remains in her/his wheelchair if she/he wants to use a seatbelt and shoulder harness?

There is no requirement for seat belts in any operational transit situation, including wheelchairs.

More information is available at the FTA Website:

Is it required that a driver of a public transit vehicle wear a seat belt?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has jurisdiction over interstate drivers, but if it is a local transit system, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is an agency of the Federal Department of Transportation, regulates seat belt use and design. NHTSA may defer to state laws (like they do on seat belt laws for adults) or to local decisions (if a transit agency wants to make it agency policy). You may contact NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236.

Is it required having seat belts installed on the Operator's seat for Light Rail Vehicles? Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #208 does not exactly specify requirement for Light Rail Vehicles.

Although Federal regulation does not require seatbelts to be provided for the operator's seat on light rail vehicles, operational considerations might prompt a transit agency to require their installation and use, particularly where the light rail vehicle is operating on an shared right-of-way with other vehicles or where there is a risk of an LRV coming to an abrupt halt. (Posted: October, 2010)