Your and your loved ones’ safety is a top priority when it comes to vehicle laws in Oklahoma.
So it’s no surprise that there are strict car seat and seat belt laws.
But like many, we usually don’t care, or even know, about these laws.
You may not know it, but you’re putting yourself or your child in so much danger without the proper restraints.
This is why it’s SO, SO important to obey the Oklahoma car seat laws and seat belt laws.
And this is why, here, we’re going to tell you all you need to know about it. This way, you can comply with the law and keep everyone safe.
So let’s begin!
Oklahoma Car Seat Laws
According to Oklahoma law…
Children under 8 years old should be placed in the right car seat or booster seat, depending on their height and age. On the other hand, children 8 and above should always wear seat belts.
Oklahoma’s car seat laws use guidelines to know what type of car seat is required.
Let’s take a close look at this.
- 0-2 years old: rear-facing car seat.
- 2-4 years old: rear-facing car seat for as long as the child is within the manufacturer’s height and weight limits. If they exceed, use a forward-facing car seat.
- 4-8 years old: forward-facing car seat OR a booster seat if the child is shorter than 4’9”.
- 8 years old and taller than 4’9”: seat belt.
Keep in mind that you should only use car seats that meet federal safety standards. You should also look at the car seat manufacturer’s guidelines to know the weight and height limits the seat allows.
In all cases, your child should be placed in the back seat where they are safest.
Car Seat Penalties in Oklahoma
If a law enforcement officer sees that you are violating the car seat law, they may ask you to stop. This is called primary enforcement – where the officer doesn’t need another traffic violation to ask you to stop.
In other words, once you violate the car seat law, you will be caught if a child is spotted without it.
On top of that, you also get a fine. Your first offense can result in a fine of up to $50. Subsequent offenses can go up to $100 per occurrence.
However, you won’t get any points against your driver’s license for a car seat violation.
Why Children Should Stay in the Backseat
The State of Oklahoma always stresses that children below 8 should stay at the back.
Here are some reasons:
- The back seat is the safest place to be when you encounter a collision. This is mainly because the back seat has more reinforcements than the front seats.
- It is farthest from the airbags. If you didn’t know, the impact of airbags can greatly injure a child.
- There are lower chances for a collision on the side. If you’re seated in the rear seat, the impact is less because the sides are not the first things to get hit.
- There’s a low chance for them to get thrown at the windshield, especially if they’re in the proper safety restraint.
- There are fewer distractions for you as a driver.
Oklahoma Seat Belt Law
Oklahoma’s seat belt law, also known as the Seat Belt Use Act, requires passengers seated in the front to always wear a seat belt.
If you are an adult seated at the back, this is not required. However, it’s still highly recommended to wear one for your own safety.
Also, drivers and passengers are not required to wear seat belts if in these vehicles:
- Recreational vehicles
- Delivery and postal service carrier vehicles
- School buses
- Commercial vehicles
If you are unable to wear a seat belt due to medical reasons, you need to submit a written application to the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety to request an exemption. This application requires that you submit a medical certificate from a physician requesting the exemption.
Seat Belt Penalties in Oklahoma
Like the car seat law, the Seat Belt Use Act uses primary enforcement. So again, if an officer sees you seated in front and not wearing a seat belt, they can stop you.
The penalty is a fine of up to $20 for the first offense. The subsequent offenses will be up to $50 per offense.
Remember, court costs are not yet included in these fines.
In general, drivers are the ones who receive the penalty for not wearing a seat belt. However, if the passenger is 16 and above, the violation is given to them.
Why You Should Wear A Seat Belt
Again you might be wondering…
Why are seat belts necessary?
Well, here’s why…
- It keeps you in your seat. In turn, this prevents you from getting thrown out of the vehicle. I don’t need to tell you that you get more serious injuries if you are thrown out.
- It reduces the forward motion of your body when there’s a collision. It prevents you from hitting the dashboard.
- It enhances airbags. An airbag alone is not enough to keep you safe because it doesn’t keep you in your seat.
- You maintain a correct position even if there’s an impact. Without a seat belt, the chances of you being in the wrong position are high. This leads to serious injuries or death.
- A seat belt distributes the force of the impact throughout your body. If the force is focused on only one area, you risk getting broken bones and punctured organs.
Correct Way to Wear a Seat Belt
A seat belt can only do its job if it’s worn properly.
So here’s the proper way to wear a seat belt:
- Fasten the belt on the lock by your side.
- The shoulder strap should be across your chest while the lap belt should be across your pelvic area.
- Do not put the shoulder strap behind the seat.
- For children above 8, the seat belt should feel snug. If it’s loose, place your child in a booster seat instead.
And there you have it — everything you need to know about Oklahoma car seat laws and seat belt laws.
These laws are strictly enforced…
And if you’re caught violating any of them, you will get fined.
To avoid these inconveniences and to make sure you and your passengers are safe, always use a car seat or seat belt.
It’s as simple as that.