3-11 Seat Belt Usage

Policy Type: Local

Responsible Office: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Initial Policy Approved: 4/28/2014

Current Revision Approved: 4/16/2018



Evidence indicates that the use of safety belts and other restraint devices have significant impact on reducing the number of deaths and the severity of injuries resulting from traffic crashes and also assist officers in maintaining proper control of their vehicles in pursuits or emergency high speed operations. It is the policy of the VCUPD that all occupants of state vehicles wear the manufacturer’s supplied safety belt restraint system when the vehicle is in motion. This policy shall also apply to any other vehicle operated by an employee during the course of their duties, with the exception of vehicles not required by law to have seat belts.


There are circumstances in which the use of a safety belt restraint system may hamper effective conduct of police functions. There are a few exceptions in situations in which the efficient performance of law enforcement functions outweigh the safety benefits of utilizing a safety belt restraint system. Seat belt usage enforcement is a priority of VCUPD. Ensuring that students, staff, faculty, and visitors are properly secured within their vehicles by way of seat belts and child safety seats is a vital component of VCUPD traffic enforcement.


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any violations of policy are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.



  1. Wearing of Seat Belts:
    1. The manufacturer-supplied seat belt system shall be worn in accordance with the instructions outlined in the vehicle owner’s manual. Occupants shall not wear the shoulder belt in a manner other than that prescribed in the owner’s manual (e.g. behind the back, under the arm, etc.).
    2. In accordance with department policy, all prisoners shall be properly seated and restrained with the manufacturer-supplied seat belt system prior to moving the vehicle.
    3. Drivers and vehicle occupants are subject to safety belt and child safety seat laws under the Code of Virginia and may be issued a uniform traffic summons if they are found in violation of the law.
    4. With the exception of emergency situations, it shall be the responsibility of all vehicle operators to ensure that their passengers are properly seated and secured with the manufacturer-supplied seat belt system prior to moving the vehicle.
  2. Exceptions to this Policy
    1. Per the Code of Virginia §46.2-1094, law enforcement officers are exempt from mandatory seat belt usage in the following situations:
      1. When transporting persons in custody or traveling in circumstances which render the wearing of such safety belt system impractical
        1. Note: As a matter of department policy, for short periods of time, impractical situations for seat belt usage include, but are not limited to, the following:
          1. When the officer is approaching an incident scene
          2. When the officer believes that a rapid exit from the vehicle may be required
      2. When driving motor vehicles to enforce laws governing motor vehicle parking
  3. If a department employee is injured in an accident while traveling in a state owned or operated vehicle and it is determined that the employee was not wearing a properly adjusted and secured seat belt system when required, that employee may be denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits pursuant to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act (Va. Code §65.2-306).


Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

4/28/2014 - 3-11 Seat Belt Usage