Did you know that a police officer can pull you over in Arkansas simply because you’re driving without a seatbelt?
Because seatbelts can save lives, Arkansas implants strict seatbelt laws.
But what are the Arkansas seatbelt laws?
What about car seats for children?
Let’s find out in this 2024 guide on seatbelt laws in Arkansas. We’ll tell you everything you should know, including:
- Seatbelt and car seat laws for adults and children
- Penalties for breaking seatbelt laws
- How to properly use your seatbelt
So let’s begin!
Seatbelt Laws in Arkansas
The seatbelt laws in Arkansas are simple.
This states that all drivers and front-seat passengers must wear seatbelts in Arkansas at all times. Yes, even if it’s just a 5-minute drive.
And, when a teen is behind the wheel, EVERYONE(including those seated at the back) is required to buckle up.
Now, you may be wondering why there’s a need for more precautions when a young adult is in the driver’s seat. This is because teens and young adults were found to use seatbelts the least while driving.
As passengers, high school students only buckle up 43.1% of the time when someone else is driving the vehicle.
Unfortunately, people in the state do not comply with this law. I mean, the average seatbelt use is only 81.9% – making Arkansas the 7th-worst state when it comes to seatbelt use.
This is why Arkansas made the seatbelt law a primary law.
A police officer can stop you, and give you a ticket, if he/she sees you without a seatbelt.
Car Seat Laws in Arkansas
Arkansas’ seatbelt law is very straightforward. However, it gets a bit complex when it’s about children.
Arkansas has a Child Passenger Protection Act that requires a child younger than 15 to buckle up at all times. It doesn’t matter whether they’re in the front or back seat, or who’s driving.
And, though not a law, it’s recommended that children 13 years old or younger stay in the back seat.
Here’s a rundown of other car seat laws for children in Arkansas:
- You must use a child safety seat if your child is younger than 6 years old and weighs less than 60 pounds.
- You can let your child use a safety belt if he’s 6 or older or weighs at least 60 pounds.
Recommendations for using car seats in Arkansas
Although Arkansas doesn’t have detailed requirements for how you should position car seats inside a vehicle, the American Academy of Pediatrics does.
All children younger than 2 years old have to be in the back seat. You can break down the car seat’s position further:
- It should be rear-facing for babies less than a year old regardless of weight.
- You can use a front-facing car seat for toddlers over a year old and weighs more than 20 pounds.
Also, although it’s not part of Arkansas law, you are encouraged to use booster seats for children younger than 8 and shorter than 4 feet and 9 inches. When they have reached these specifications, then a seatbelt will suffice.
When do you know it’s time for your child to use a seatbelt?
It’s very wise to use a car seat for your child as seatbelts won’t fit them properly.
But when do you know when you can get rid of the car seat?
Using their height and weight is an excellent way to figure out whether it’s time to move them from a booster seat to a regular seatbelt.
Another approach is to do a fit test. Secure your child in the back using a regular seatbelt and check off those that apply:
- He can sit all the way back against the seat.
- His knees bend comfortably at the edge.
- The seatbelt crosses over his shoulder, between the arm and neck.
- The lap belt is as low as possible.
- Your child can remain in this position for the entire ride.
If any of these boxes remain unchecked, you should continue using a booster seat.
Penalties for Seatbelt Laws in Arkansas
A police officer can pull you over for no other reason other than you’re not wearing your seatbelt. You can be fined up to $25 and must shoulder all court costs if any.
A citation for violating this law will not add any points to your driving record since it’s considered a non-moving violation. However, it will still appear in your driving history.
As a result, it may affect your car insurance premium the next time you renew your policy.
How to Properly Use Your Seatbelt
Using the seatbelt properly isn’t just for children. It’s for adults, too. Remember, it won’t be as effective if you wear it incorrectly.
Here are some things to remember when you put your seatbelt on:
- Sit up straight before attempting to secure your seatbelt. It means your back is resting against the seat, and your feet are on the floor.
- You should wear the shoulder harness across your shoulders and chest. Ensure that there’s as little slack as possible.
- Do not wear the shoulder harness under your arm or behind your back. You may suffer from internal injuries if you collide into something.
- The lap belt should be below your belly. It should fit snugly across your hips and pelvis.
- Some cars have an automatic shoulder belt. You should still make sure you secure your lap belt. If not, you can slide out of your seat in a collision and hurt yourself.
The Wrap Up
As you can see, the seatbelt laws in Arkansas are VERY simple.
Yet, there are people that do not comply with it, much to their risks and maybe regrets.
Everyone knows that seatbelts are there for our protection. So why not make use of it?
Remember, road safety isn’t just about ensuring your car’s in top conditions and you demonstrate all the appropriate driving behaviors. It also means doing everything possible to keep everyone safe while on the road.
Keep these Arkansas seatbelt laws in mind to avoid any violations and penalties, and do your part in keeping you and your passengers safe!