Oklahoma Senate Approves Bill to Require Passengers 16 and Under to Wear Seat Belt

KTUL - March 24, 2023 7:08 am

A buckled seat belt. (WLUK/Don Steffens)

The Oklahoma Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would require any backseat passenger 16 years old or younger to wear a seat belt.

Sen. Roland Pederson, R-Burlington, authored Senate Bill 681 to hopefully reduce the number of injuries and deaths of minors involved in crashes.

Currently, the Sooner state is the only one in the country that doesn’t require kids eight and older to buckle up.

“Oklahoma is the only state that does not require children over the age of 8 to wear seat belts in the backseat,” Pederson said in a press release. “It is time for us to make this change and put protections in place for children in our state. You may think it won’t happen to you or anyone you know, but there are countless crashes every year. This bill was requested by a group of FCCLA members from my district that lost a friend who was not wearing a seat belt in the back seat.”

Crashes are the leading cause of death for children.

The National Highway Safety Office reported in 2020 that 38% of children under 12 who were killed in crashes weren’t buckled up.

“While car crashes are inevitable, I hope this bill will help reduce the number of children that are killed or hurt when accidents do occur,” Pederson said in a press release.

The bill now moves to the House for a vote.


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