Voters can visit OKseatbelts.org to express opinions to their lawmakers.
WHAT: Oklahoma ranks #50 in protecting children in car crashes, the #1 cause of death and injury to those 8 and older in our state. It is the ONLY state in the nation without a law requiring children 8 and older to wear a seat belt when riding in the back seat.
During National Child Passenger Safety Month, a growing coalition of state health, traffic safety and education organizations is urging voters to contact their legislators in support. They are not willing to see 67 children, 8 – 17, injured and 16 killed each year in Oklahoma who weren’t wearing seat belts (as happened in 2017) and urge lawmakers to pass a law. (2017 crash data from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office for children under 18)
AAA, Safe Kids Oklahoma and other traffic safety groups have been working for 4 years to get a bill passed to remedy this problem. While legislators say they personally support it and do buckle up their own youngsters, they have said voters would oppose the bill, viewing it as a personal rights infringement or “mandate”.
WHEN: Thursday, September 26 – 3 p.m. Rally with interviews following.
WHERE: State Capitol, South Plaza
Legislators & other government leaders supporting seat belts for older children
Jeremy Johnson, M.D., pediatric trauma medical director, The Children’s Hospital Trauma ONE
8-year-old Millie Washington, 3rd grader from Twin Hills Elementary, Okmulgee County
Caroline Skaggs, Latta High School senior; state president, Family, Career & Community Leaders of America
Leslie Gamble, public & government affairs manager, AAA Oklahoma
In the U.S., more in this age group were killed in crashes while not wearing seat belts than
those younger. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
The #1 threat to the lives of teenagers is riding in a vehicle without a seatbelt – more than
all other forms of violence combined. (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
Seat belt use reduces serious injuries and fatalities by half. Injuries to minors in car
crashes are preventable. Requiring children to ride in seat belts is a proven way to save
lives. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Current Oklahoma law does not meet the standards of the American Academy of
Pediatrics that all minors should wear seat belts no matter where they ride in vehicles and
all under 13 ride in the back seat with seat belts. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
40 states including Texas, Kansas and New Mexico and D.C. require all under 18
to wear seat belts in the back seat. (AAA)
Oklahoma ranks among the top ten worst states for child occupant deaths in the United States.
(Oklahoma Highway Safety Office)