Now that we’ve talked about the different aspects of driver’s licenses in Alaska, let’s dive into car seat laws.
Part of road safety is following these laws.
But how can you follow them if you’re not sure what they are?
In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you should know about Alaska car seat laws. This way, you can keep everyone safe, while adhering to the rules of the road.
So shall we?
Importance of Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws are your final line of protection from accidents. Without that protection, injuries or even deaths will ramp up.
Imagine you’ve done everything you can to be safe out on the road. You’ve followed all traffic signals, obeyed pavement markings, used your headlights and taillights correctly, and even did proper lane switching.
But another driver is being reckless.
What if they’re drunk driving?
And you happened to get caught between all of that.
Suddenly, it all comes down to how protected you and your passengers are inside your vehicle.
This is why car seat laws are in place. You’ll never know when accidents will happen—even when you do your part in exercising road safety.
It’s even more crucial to follow car seat laws when you are carrying a young passenger.
Car Seat Laws for Children
In Alaska, there are different car seat laws in place for each child in varying stages of development.
Children below the age of 1 year or infants who weigh less than 20 pounds must be seated on a rear-facing car seat.
The reason behind this is all physics.
A baby’s head is fairly larger than its body. With a rear-facing seat, it evenly spreads a crash impact onto the seat itself and not on the child safety belt. This helps keep the child’s spine and head in place.
Children below the age of 5 can graduate from a rear-facing seat to a child restraint system—more commonly referred to as a child car seat.
And though not required for this age group, it’s recommended that children until the age of 3 be seated facing the rear to make the most out of safety practices.
Booster seats are another step higher and are for older children—specifically those aged 4 to 8.
Booster seats also have a height requirement. In order to qualify for using a booster seat, a child must be no more than 57 inches tall and must weigh over 20lbs but no more than 65lbs.
If the child exceeds the height and weight limit, a booster seat is not required but he or she must wear a seat belt.
On the other hand, children 8 to 15 years old who do not exceed the height and weight limit must be secured in a child safety system appropriate for their size and age.
Seat Belt Use in Alaska
We’ve all been guilty of seatbelt neglect.
After all, how often do we actually need it during everyday travel? Probably not at all—when nothing goes wrong, at least.
But the thing is, accidents can happen at any moment, and a seatbelt can mean all the difference between life and death.
So here is some data about seat belt use:
- Collisions are 25 times more fatal when you’re flung from your seat. Wearing a seat belt drastically lessens this risk.
- The number one cause of child deaths and injuries is car crashes.
- You can crush a child held in your arms during a crash if you’re not wearing your seatbelt.
- An unrestricted infant can become a hazard to the driver, increasing the chances of an accident. It’s best to harness your child not only for their safety but for the adults as well.
Seat Belt Use Exemptions in Alaska
There are some exceptions to the seat belt rule.
Vehicles predating 1965 do not have seat belts, so the seat belt law will not apply. However, you are not allowed to transport minors inside your vehicle. If so, you will be fined.
Mail services delivering to roadside boxes operated via vehicles are also exempt from the seat belt law.
School bus passengers aren’t typically required to wear seat belts unless the bus itself requires it.
Emergency vehicle passengers and those tagged by the Commissioner of Public Safety are exempted, too.
That all said, the biggest hazard here is endangering your or your passengers’ life. So even though seat belts aren’t required, it’s best to still use them.
What are the Penalties for Breaking Seatbelt Laws in Alaska?
Drivers are especially responsible for passengers below 16 years of age. Failure to restrain them in child safety systems will get the driver fined $50 and will receive 2 demerit points in their record.
Adults not wearing seat belts will be fined $15 if caught.
This $15 fine can be waived if the same amount is donated to the EMS organization. Drivers can check the EMS directory for a list of EMS orgs they can donate to.
After choosing a donor and paying, the driver must show the receipt to court.
Overall, the biggest penalty is if something bad happens.
Car seat laws are your last line of protection against drunk drivers and road accidents.
They consist of mainly 2 things: child restraint systems and seat belt laws.
There are different types of child restraint systems—rear-facing seats, child car seats, and booster seats. What your child uses will depend on his or her weight, height, and age.
Remember, a young infant no more than 1 year old should always be propped on a rear-facing seat. Rear-facing seats provide maximum safety in the event of a car collision because it spreads the impact on the largest surface of the seat.
Although not anymore required once the child exceeds 20lbs, it’s recommended to use this setup until the child reaches the age of 3.
Depending on height and weight, children below 16 years old can use a seat belt or a booster seat.
Adults, on the other hand, must wear a seat belt at all times even when the vehicle is moving slow. This is not only for your safety, but for the children in the vehicle with you as well.
All in all, make it a habit to practice safety even when inside your car. Being mindful of this can be lifesaving!