With the large amount of “Click It or Ticket” programs throughout the country, and the increased awareness of seatbelt safety over the past two decades, it is surprising that some states still do not require children to wear seatbelts. Oklahoma is one such state and while a bill was recently proposed to correct that law, it stalled after passing the House.
Oklahoma law states that after a child outgrows their child car seat or turns eight years old, they can sit in the backseat of the car without a seatbelt until the age of 14. This is in conjunction with state law that says only drivers and passengers in the front seat are required to buckle up.
House Bill 3026 would have changed that. While adults in the backseat still would not be required to wear a seatbelt, children under the age of 14 would be required to do so. After the bill did not pass all phases of the legislature, the old law remains, at least for the time being.
The bill was originally proposed by AAA Oklahoma, the state’s largest motorist group. And due to the importance of children’s safety in motor vehicles, they plan to try again next year. A representative from the Association stated that the organization will try again during the 2019 legislative session. And that they will continue trying until a bill is passed.
“The safety of our children on the roads is of utmost importance,” says Oklahoma City car accident attorney Clayton T. Hasbrook of Hasbrook & Hasbrook. “Although it is not law just yet, parents should still be reminded how important it is for children to wear seatbelts any time they are in a vehicle, regardless of whether the law requires it or not.”
A look at the statistics shows just how important a bill like this is. Throughout the country a child under the age of 13 is in a car crash every 33 seconds. And in Oklahoma, car crashes are one the main causes of death for children in Oklahoma. A law such as House Bill 3026 would help ensure fewer of those deaths occur so that children can be kept safer.