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Seat belts in parades?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

Seat belts in parades?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 7, 2011

McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren

Is there an exception in the State seat belt law for vehicles operated in parades? On public roadways? No one I've spoken with knows of any exception.

So, in vehicles driven in parades, should all occupants legally required to be belted in, be belted in?

In this McHenry County Sheriff's Department squad car being driven by Sheriff Keith Nygren, you can see that he is wearing his seat belt. But it certainly looks like the two children in the back seat are not wearing theirs. They appear to be of a size that requires either a booster seat or at least to be strapped down with the backseat belt. But you can see the child in the left rear seat hanging on the glass of the half-open window, and the child in the right rear seat appears to be standing and leaning out through the open window. (To enlarge the picture, click on it; then click on the Back button on your browser tocome back here.)

In other vehicles in this year's Crystal Lake 4th of July Parade, occupants were sitting on the rear seat back of convertibles. Of course, until January 1, 2012, rear seat passengers are not required to be belted in, but aren't they required to sit in seats and not on the seatback?

General Orders of the Sheriff's Department may require that a patrol car be occupied only by law enforcement officers. The deputy is not to haul family members and friends around with him in the squad car. Part of the reason must be the liability issue. Is the Sheriff himself subject to the General Orders of the Department? In past years Nygren has been chauffeured around in private vehicles, while deputies drove squad cars or operated motorcycles - not this year in Crystal Lake.

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