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Many CHP and Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspectors say they catch a large number of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers for failure to wear a seatbelt as they pull into the “chicken coop” or weigh station. These inspectors state it is already too late as the drivers are trying to click the seatbelt on their approach but are on videotape already not wearing one.

So, unfortunately, for these drivers, they’re already looking at seven Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points before their vehicle inspection even begins. Nearly 100,000 failure to wear a seatbelt citations are issued each year to commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. What’s more, it is such a simple and possibly lifesaving step just to make it click. 

Failure to Wear a Seatbelt

In fifteen states, failure to wear a seatbelt is a secondary offense, which means law enforcement must have a primary reason to stop you. They cannot merely stop you because they suspect you are not wearing your seatbelt. However, CA is not one of those 15.

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 27315Safety Belts and Inflatable Restraint Systems makes it an infraction for any driver of a passenger vehicle, motor truck, or tractor-trailer to operate on a public highway unless the driver and all passengers are “properly restrained by a safety belt.”  

The exception to this traffic code is a passenger in the sleeper berth or a driver/passenger with a “physically disabling condition” that does not allow for physical restraint. A medical physician or chiropractor must certify the condition, and the certification must be carried in the vehicle. 

Failure to Wear a Seatbelt Consequences

A CA traffic court can fine the driver a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. However, after the added state and county fees, surcharges, and penalties, those base fines become $160 and $280, respectively. 

The fine is just the beginning for the driver, particularly the CDL holder. The DMV will assess one Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) point for the Class C driver and 1.5 to the CDL holder’s driving record and notify the FMCSA. 

Once the insurance company discovers the NOTS points, usually at renewal, they will take away the “good driver’s discount.” Then, put the driver in an increased risk classification that could cost a driver around $500 more per year, or $1,500 over the three years the conviction or paid fine will remain on their record.

Plus, the CDL holder will get assessed the CSA severity points and time-weight multiplier, which will stay on their Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years too.  

Trucking Tickets in Kern County 

The CDL holder must challenge the failure to wear a seatbelt ticket or face the possibility of termination by fleet management. Call Bigger & Harman, APC, to discuss your specific circumstances, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.

Send them an email,


The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

JJ Keller’s Fleetistics articleTop 10 Most Common Unsafe Driving Violations

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