Traffic Safety Laws in Missouri

Seat Belts

Missouri law requires all drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts.

If the driver holds an intermediate driver license, all passengers must wear seat belts.

Child Car Seat Laws

While safety belts offer excellent protection for adults, they are not designed to keep children safe in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Missouri law states:

  • Children should stay in a rear-facing child safety seat until 2 years old.
  • A child less than 4 years old or weighing under 40 lbs. must be secured in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for the child.
  • A child 4 through 7 years old, who also weighs at least 40 lbs. must be in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat until they are at least 80 lbs or 4 feet 9 inches tall.
  • Children 8 years old and older or at least 80 lbs, or more than 4 feet 9 inches, may ride fastened in a seatbelt.
  • All children under 16 years old must be properly secured in a vehicle.

The fine for violating Missouri's child safety law is $50 plus court costs. Child safety seat requirements do not apply to children who are being transported in a school bus or public carrier for hire.

Be sure to read our articles on How to Buy a Child Safety Seat and How to Install a Child Safety Seat.

If you have questions about Missouri's child safety restraint laws or wish to schedule a checkup to ensure your car seat is installed correctly, contact the Missouri Department of Transportation at (888) 275-6636.

Reporting a Drunk Driver

If you are traveling on Missouri roads and encounter a driver you believe to be under the influence of alcohol, do not attempt to confront the driver on your own. Since an intoxicated person may become violent, you are encouraged to call 911 immediately to report your location, the make and model of the vehicle, and any suspicious behaviors you have witnessed. Drunk drivers are a serious safety hazard and all Missouri residents must do their part to help keep the state's roads safe.

How do you know if a driver is intoxicated? Aside from actually witnessing alcohol consumption, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the following signs often indicate a driver may be seriously impaired:

  • Erratic braking
  • Tailgating
  • Repeatedly drifting into opposing traffic
  • Nearly colliding with another vehicle or a stationary object
  • Driving outside legally-designated roadways
  • Weaving across the road
  • Improper use of signals


Your headlights are an important part of your vehicle's safety equipment. Missouri law states that you should use your headlights from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, when visibility is under 500 feet, or whenever weather conditions require the use of your windshield wipers.

Electronic Devices and Texting

Missouri bans texting for all drivers 21 years old or younger and all commercial vehicle drivers. Additionally, the state restricts most electronic device use while driving outside of making calls. Make sure to review Missouri's regulations regarding cell phone use.


According to Missouri law, motorcycle riders of all ages are legally required to wear protective safety helmets while riding on the state's roads.

Bicycle helmets are not legally required for adults in Missouri. However, the following communities have laws requiring the use of bicycle helmets for underage riders:

  • Creve Coeur
  • St. Louis County for unincorporated areas
  • Columbia
  • Florissant
  • St. Charle
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