Passenger Law and Legal Definition

A passenger is a rider who has paid a fare on a train, bus, airline, taxi, ship, ferry, automobile or other carrier in the business of transporting people for compensation. A passenger is owed a duty of care by such a carrier and does not have to prove negligence in order to recover damages if they are injured while being transported. A gratuitous passenger who pays no fare but is injured must prove the driver's negligence in a lawsuit for damages.

Many states now have child passenger restraint laws, which generally require children of a certain age to be seated in child safety seats. The following is an example of such a statute:

  • "Children from birth to 1 year old, or who weigh less than 20 pounds, must be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat.
  • Children 1 through 5 years old weighing 20 to 40 pounds must be restrained in a forward-facing child seat.
  • Children 1 through 5 years old weighing 40 to 80 pounds must be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat.
  • Children under the age of 6 are not required to be in booster seats if they weigh more than 80 pounds or if they can sit with their backs against the car's seat and bend their legs over the seat edge without slouching.
  • Children under 6 may not sit in the front passenger seat. However, this restriction does not apply if the vehicle has no rear passenger seats or if all other rear passenger seats are occupied by children less than 6 years old.

Violators are subject to a $25 fine. This law does not apply to taxis, church, school and day care buses, or commercial vehicles."