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169.685 SEAT BELT; PASSENGER RESTRAINT SYSTEM FOR CHILDREN.
    Subdivision 1. Requirement; exemptions. After January 1, 1964, all new motor vehicles,
not exempt from Minnesota license fees, other than a bus, school bus, motorcycle, motorized
bicycle, farm tractor, road tractor, and truck, sold or offered for sale or registered in Minnesota
shall be equipped to permit the installation of seat belts in the front seat thereof.
    Subd. 2. Required after registration. Within 30 days after the registration of such motor
vehicle, it shall be equipped with seat belts installed for use in the left front and right front seats
thereof.
    Subd. 3. Standards. The specifications and requirements for seat belts or seat belt assemblies
shall conform with the minimum standards for seat belts or seat belt assemblies heretofore
adopted by the Society of Automotive Engineers and in effect on January 1, 1963.
    Subd. 4. Admissibility into evidence. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), proof of the
use or failure to use seat belts or a child passenger restraint system as described in subdivision
5, or proof of the installation or failure of installation of seat belts or a child passenger restraint
system as described in subdivision 5 shall not be admissible in evidence in any litigation involving
personal injuries or property damage resulting from the use or operation of any motor vehicle.
(b) Paragraph (a) does not affect the right of a person to bring an action for damages arising
out of an incident that involves a defectively designed, manufactured, installed, or operating
seat belt or child passenger restraint system. Paragraph (a) does not prohibit the introduction of
evidence pertaining to the use of a seat belt or child passenger restraint system in an action
described in this paragraph.
    Subd. 5. Violation; petty misdemeanor. (a) Every motor vehicle operator, when transporting
a child under the age of four on the streets and highways of this state in a motor vehicle equipped
with factory-installed seat belts, shall equip and install for use in the motor vehicle, according
to the manufacturer's instructions, a child passenger restraint system meeting federal motor
vehicle safety standards.
(b) No motor vehicle operator who is operating a motor vehicle on the streets and highways
of this state may transport a child under the age of four in a seat of a motor vehicle equipped with
a factory-installed seat belt, unless the child is properly fastened in the child passenger restraint
system. Any motor vehicle operator who violates this subdivision is guilty of a petty misdemeanor
and may be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $50. The fine may be waived or the amount
reduced if the motor vehicle operator produces evidence that within 14 days after the date of the
violation a child passenger restraint system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards was
purchased or obtained for the exclusive use of the operator.
(c) The fines collected for violations of this subdivision must be deposited in the state
treasury and credited to a special account to be known as the Minnesota child passenger restraint
and education account.
    Subd. 6. Exceptions. (a) This section does not apply to:
(1) a person transporting a child in an emergency medical vehicle while in the performance
of official duties and when the physical or medical needs of the child make the use of a child
passenger restraint system unreasonable or when a child passenger restraint system is not
available;
(2) a peace officer transporting a child while in the performance of official duties and when a
child passenger restraint system is not available, provided that a seat belt must be substituted; and
(3) a person while operating a motor vehicle for hire, including a taxi, airport limousine, and
bus, but excluding a rented, leased, or borrowed motor vehicle.
(b) A child passenger restraint system is not required for a child who cannot, in the judgment
of a licensed physician, be safely transported in a child passenger restraint system because of a
medical condition, body size, or physical disability. A motor vehicle operator claiming exemption
for a child under this paragraph must possess a typewritten statement from the physician stating
that the child cannot be safely transported in a child passenger restraint system. The statement
must give the name and birth date of the child, be dated within the previous six months, and
be made on the physician's letterhead or contain the physician's name, address, and telephone
number. A person charged with violating subdivision 5 may not be convicted if the person
produces the physician's statement in court or in the office of the arresting officer.
(c) A person offering a motor vehicle for rent or lease shall provide a child passenger
restraint device to a customer renting or leasing the motor vehicle who requests the device. A
reasonable rent or fee may be charged for use of the child passenger restraint device.
    Subd. 7. Appropriation; special account; legislative report. The Minnesota child
passenger restraint and education account is created in the state treasury, consisting of fines
collected under subdivision 5 and other money appropriated or donated. The money in the
account is annually appropriated to the commissioner of public safety, to be used to provide child
passenger restraint systems to families in financial need and to provide an educational program on
the need for and proper use of child passenger restraint systems. The commissioner shall report
to the legislature by February 1 of each odd-numbered year on the commissioner's activities
and expenditure of funds under this section.
History: 1963 c 93 s 1; 1979 c 227 s 2; 1981 c 37 s 2; 1981 c 56 s 1,2; 1983 c 261 s 1; 1986
c 444; 1987 c 73 s 1,2; 1988 c 415 s 1; 1993 c 74 s 1; 1994 c 635 art 1 s 14,15; 1999 c 106 s 1