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101 Critical Days of Summer – Week One: Seat Belt Laws and Regulations

By Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Public Affairs | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | May 27, 2015


Summer is approaching and as Marines, Sailors and their families spend time together, participating in recreational activities such as swimming, boating, sports and other events, it is important to keep the following safety guidelines in mind.

“Force preservation is our mission, and we need to make sure that all Marines and Sailors doing recreational activities are doing so safely,” said Gunnery Sgt. Monica Cervantes, base safety representative. “Troop welfare is the key to mission accomplishment, and supervision is what will make that happen.”

The 101 critical days of summer begin on Memorial Day weekend and ends after Labor Day. This week’s guidelines focus on vehicle crash prevention and seat belt laws and regulations.

Vehicle Crashes

According to the Center for Disease Control, an organization focusing on protecting public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability, vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for children and young adults ages 5-24 in 2015. They are also the number two cause of deaths for adults 25 and older.

The deaths are preventable, and everyone can make a change to reduce these statistics by being aware of the dangers on the road and wearing a seat belt, said Cervantes.

The National Safety Council message to all drivers is, “Slow down, make good choices buckle up and watch out for children. It will save lives. And remember, you’re setting an example for your own kids”.

According to the CDC study, seat belts are the best protection against an injury in a crash when worn properly. Out of the 50 states, 49 states have laws that require people riding in cars to wear seat belts. When used with seat belts, airbags can also help reduce injury in crashes.

General Seat Belt Laws and Regulations

The Governors Highway Safety Association states that seat belt laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. The primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, without any other traffic offense taking place. Secondary seat belt laws state that law enforcement officers may issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable traffic infraction.

Seat Belt Regulations in CA

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, safety laws in California require everyone riding in a car to be contained with an approved safety-restraint system, seat belts and or safety seats. There are few exceptions, due to medical reasons and require a letter from their doctor excusing them from the seat belt law. Drivers are responsible for their own conduct as well as their passenger’s behavior.

Specific laws vary greatly from state to state, depending on the age of the rider and in what seat he or she is sitting. For more information visit:

Governors Highway Safety Association:


California Department of Motor Vehicles:


National Safety Council Motor Vehicle Safety:


For more information general safety and the 101 Critical Days of Summer, please visit the base safety website at http://www.pendleton.marines.mil/StaffAgencies/SafetyCenter.aspx