OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A bill that requires children to wear a seatbelt has passed the Oklahoma Senate.
The full Senate passed Senate Bill 339, which would require any child 17 and younger riding in the back seat of a vehicle to properly wear a seatbelt.
“Oklahoma is the only state in the entire country that doesn’t require seat belts for kids over the age of eight, and it’s no coincidence that vehicle fatalities are the number one cause of death for children over this age here in our state,” Sen. Roland Pederson said. “Requiring seat belts for all children is a commonsense measure that will save lives.”
The Centers for Disease Control say motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury death for children between 5 and 19.
Oklahoma requires the driver, front seat passenger and child passengers under the age of eight to wear a seat belt, but has no requirements on the books for children ages eight to 17.
“I had the opportunity to meet with two young ladies from Drummond last year who both experienced the lifesaving difference of wearing a seatbelt,” Pederson. “Their passion for child safety on the roads and personal experiences inspired me to run this bill. Every Oklahoma child is important, and we must do all we can to ensure their safety. We know seat belts are effective, and it’s far past time for our children in the back seat to buckle up.”
The measure now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.