Proposed Oklahoma Law Could Mandate Children In The Back Seat To Wear Seat Belt
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma is the only state in the nation that doesn't mandate kids be buckled up while in the back seat. But a proposed law being considered by the legislature right now could change that.
Kids were mandated to be in a seat belt in the back seat in Oklahoma until 2015, when the law changed to require kids under eight years old to be in a booster seat.
Experts say whoever re-wrote the law accidentally left out protections for older children.
“There is a strong correlation to survival in a car wreck and wearing a seat belt, and we must protect our children,” said Leslie Gamble with AAA Oklahoma.
That's why AAA is pushing the legislature to pass HB1936, which would once again mandate kids between the ages of 8 and 14 to be buckled in.
AAA says in the 10 child fatalities in that age group last year, at least seven kids were not wearing a seat belt. In one case, it was undetermined if the child was buckled in.
“AAA believes it’s neglect to not have a law that children need to be buckled up in the back seat,” said Gamble.
The bill, however, isn't getting the green light as expected. It narrowly passed out of committee and has to be heard on the House floor by Thursday.
AAA is encouraging everyone who would like to see this become law to contact their legislator.
Representatives Crosswait Hader, Gann, Newton and Olsen all voted against the bill in committee. News 9 reached out to all of them to see why they opposed the proposal.
Representative Newton said he is in no way against seatbelt restraints, but he opposes it being mandated by the government.
“I believe we need to allow the parents, or guardians to be the decision makers and not the government,” said Newton.