Oklahoma Aims to Improve Seatbelt Laws for Children
As states around the country move to enforce stricter car seat rules, Oklahoma remains one of the most relaxed.
Children between 8 and 14 years of age are not required to wear a seatbelt while sitting in the backseat of a vehicle. Think this is normal? It’s not. Oklahoma is currently the only state in the country that has such a gap in the law. The vast majority of states (40 in all) require all minors (those under 18) to wear a seatbelt at all times; regardless of which seat they occupy. A few hold-out states lower the age to 16 or 15.
“Seatbelts are extremely important, especially for small children,” explains notable injury lawyer, Roger Dodd.
“Kids depend on parents and other adults to make good decisions for them,” he added, “so if lawmakers want to make a good decision, they’ll require that kids be belted in.” It seems that good news is on the horizon as Oklahoma lawmakers continue to grapple with how to mandate common-sense rules for child seatbelt use. The State Senate attempted a law recently, but it failed to pass. This week, HB 1936 was introduced, which would effectively require kids between 8 and 14 to be securely fastened in a seatbelt or harness.
Over a thousand children in this same age range were killed or badly injured in just the last 5 years, and yet the Legislature still struggles to pass the needed reform. Simply put, seatbelts save lives.
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