Having a child in the car calls for extra precaution to protect your most vulnerable passengers and stay on the right side of the law. Seat belt laws in Oklahoma spell out the number of rules for children of different ages. And while surprisingly, seat belts are not required for all ages of children in the back seat, it is always wise to ensure your child is safely belted. Learn more about safe and legal driving with child passengers in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Seat Belt Laws for Children Under Eight
Oklahoma law requires all children under eight years of age to use an age-, height-, and weight-appropriate child passenger restraint system when riding in a car. Types of safety seats include rear-facing seats, front-facing seats, and boosters. The following are the usual restraint system requirements by age:
- Children under two must ride in a rear-facing car seat while they fit its height and weight limit
- Children between two and four will usually ride in a forward-facing seat
- Children between four and eight will ride in secure car or booster seats that allow them to wear a seat belt
- Children over eight or taller than 4’9” may use a regular seat belt
Note that there are some exceptions to these rules. Specifically, child passenger restraint requirements don’t apply to taxis, school buses, motorcycles, and mopeds or when other passengers already use all seat belts. Also, if a medical reason prevents the child from using regular restraint systems for health reasons, parents may get an official exemption.
Seat Belt Laws in Oklahoma for Children Eight and Older
Like other front-seat passengers in Oklahoma, children who ride in a vehicle’s front seat must wear a seat belt. Children over age eight may legally ride in the back seat without a seat belt in Oklahoma, making Oklahoma the only U.S. state currently imposing no seat belt requirements on back-seat passengers eight and older.
However, even when riding without a seat belt is legal, it’s still highly unsafe. Oklahoma has seen many car crashes result in a tragic loss of life, often involving minors who weren’t wearing seat belts.
State legislators are working to extend seat belt laws in Oklahoma so children under 16 must wear a seat belt at all times. Still, you don’t need to wait for legislation updates to keep your children and other young passengers safe. Buckling up is a quick, easy way to protect yourself and anyone riding in your car. According to CDC data, using seat belts reduces vehicle accident fatalities by 45% and severe injury rates by 50%.
Penalties for Safety Seat and Seat Belt Violations in Oklahoma
If a police officer in Oklahoma spots a child riding in a car without an age-appropriate safety seat, the officer may stop the vehicle and issue a ticket. Safety seat violations involve a $50 fine and court costs, while seat belt violations carry a $20 penalty. However, courts usually dismiss fines and only require a $15 court fee for first offenses, provided the driver proves they acquired a proper safety seat.
At the same time, getting a seat belt or safety seat ticket in Oklahoma won’t lead to license demerit points or bump up your insurance rates.
Bryan Garrett, PLLC: Your Experienced Local Car Accident Lawyer in OKC
Following the seat belt laws in Oklahoma can save lives and prevent serious injuries. However, even the most careful and law-abiding drivers may end up in a car crash. If you suffered an injury in Oklahoma City, contact Bryan Garrett, PLLC. We’ll assess your case, explain your legal options, and walk you through claiming compensation.Call (405) 725-2661 or contact us online for a free consultation with an Oklahoma City car accident attorney.