Law Enforcement Agencies to Focus on Safety Belt and Child Seat Law Education

Through Sunday, February 13, law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon will use federally funded overtime to educate the public about safety belt and child seat laws including a law passed in 2017 increasing safety for children under age two.

ODOT crash data for 2019 shows lack of safety belt or child restraint use was a factor in 26% or 81 of a total 308 motor vehicle occupant fatalities.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading nationwide cause of death for children ages one through twelve years old. In 2019, 1,636 children under twelve were injured in Oregon traffic crashes, 10 percent were reported not using a child restraint system. It is estimated that car seats may increase crash survival by 71% for infants under one year old and by up to 59% for toddlers aged one to four. Booster seats may reduce the chance of nonfatal injury among four to eight year old’s by 45% compared to safety belts used alone.

Of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in the United States in 2019, 47% were not wearing seat belts.

In 2017 safety belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives nationally. For drivers and front-seat passengers, using a lap and shoulder belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent in an SUV, van or pickup and by 45 percent in a car. (IIHS)

In 2017 an Oregon law was passed requiring children to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they are at least two years old. A child over age two must continue to ride in a car seat with harness or in a booster until they reach age eight or 4’ 9” in height and the adult belt fits them correctly.

The 2017 law, which extends the rear-facing requirement from the previous age one to age two, will better protect the child’s head, neck, and spine from potential crash injuries. This is because a rear-facing seat spreads crash forces evenly across the seat and child’s body while also limiting forward or sideways motion of the head.

Courtesy of JCSO

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