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Arizona Seat Belt Law

Seat belts can help keep drivers and passengers safe. Unfortunately, thousands of people never buckle up, causing many needless injuries and deaths every year. In Arizona, there are very specific laws regarding seat belts, so if you’re a driver in this state, it is important to understand these regulations.

State Law Statute

There are some main Arizona seat belt laws that all drivers have to obey in this state. First and foremost, all occupants in front seats must have lap and shoulder belts adjusted and fastened when the vehicle is moving. The only exception is for some middle seats, in which there may not be a shoulder belt – in this case, the lap belt must still be fastened.

The second part of this law has to do with minors. It is especially important that anyone under the age of 16 be wearing a seat belt, and it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that. Adults in front seat positions can be issued their own tickets, but the driver will be issued citations for all children not wearing their seat belts.

Fines for Not Wearing a Seat Belt

In Arizona, your fines will depend on how many people in the vehicle are not wearing seat belts when you are pulled over. In most cases, the first offense will result in a $10 fine per person. Arizona is a secondary seat belt law state, though, meaning that you can’t be pulled over just for not wearing your seat belt. You have to be pulled over for another offense first.

In addition, penalties for children not in safety seats even though they are under the age of five, will be charged an addition fine (minimum of $50) unless they show that the vehicle in question was subsequently equipped with a property safety seat for the child.

Who is Required to Wear a Seat Belt

In Arizona, you must wear a seat belt if you are in the front seat. That includes drivers. It is also that law that anyone aged 5 – 15 has to be wearing a properly-adjusted seat belt, no matter where they are sitting.

This law does take into account that certain persons cannot be required to wear their seat belts, even if they are in the front seat of a moving vehicle. Those getting exemptions and anyone with a medical disability who has a waiver and mail carriers. Children under the age of 5 also do not have to wear conventional seat belts, but they must be buckled into a child’s car seat appropriate for their size.

Child Seat Info

The Arizona seat belt laws are most strict when concerning children. When you have a child in the car, you are ultimately responsible for them as the driver. According to the child seat belt law in this state, any child under the age of five has to be in a child safety seat, no matter how big or tall they might be.

There are multiple kinds of seats, and it is important to use the right kind with the right child. If you don’t, you could be given a citation anyway because the child was still not using the property safety restraint. Here are the different kinds of seats that Arizona parents need to use:

Infant Seats

  • Used for children under 20 pounds and under 1 year old
  • The seat must face the rear of the car
  • All straps must be in place and snug

Convertible Seats

  • Used for children under 40 pounds
  • The seat can face the rear or the front
  • All straps must be in place and snug

Booster Seats

  • Used for children 40 to 80 pounds
  • Must use a harness or vest system or make use of the vehicle’s seat belts

If you’re confused about what kind of child safety belt system to use, you can always contact the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for more information.

Reasons for Using

Research shows that every 13 minutes, someone is killed in an automobile accident, and every nine seconds, someone is injured. At lest one of those deaths in every four or five could have been prevented had the person been wearing a seat belt. Thousands of lives would be saved every year.

If that isn’t reason enough to use your seat belt, consider the monetary benefits. Although $10 for a first offense doesn’t seem like much, those fines begin to add up over time. In addition, if you are involved in an automobile accident, your medical bills will cost, on average, 50% more if you were not wearing your seat belt.

Types of Seat Belts

There are many types of seat belts. Most commonly, cars will have should and lap belt systems that work together. Sometimes, especially in older makes and models, the middle seats in the front and back of the vehicles will only have lap belts to use as a safety restraint. The problem with that is that lap belts by themselves are highly ineffective. If possible, always purchase a car that has a three-point system – one that includes both a lap and a shoulder belt.

There are also harness restraint systems, like those found in race car. Although these are rare to be used for passengers, the child seat belt system used for many booster seats is now a harness system, as manufacturers have determined that these types of seat belts are safer.

If you vehicle is out of date when it comes to seat belts, it is important to have the car or truck retrofitted for proper safety restraints. At one time, seat belts weren’t even included in some seats, but today, the car you drive should have a good safety restraint system for every passenger.

How to Use with Children

Many children are resistant to using seat belts. However, child seat belt law says that anyone under the age of 16 must be using a seat belt at all times. The key is to begin young, always insisting on a seat belt so that it really becomes second nature.

However, remember that seat belts are made for adults. This is part of the reason why children sometimes feel uncomfortable wearing them. Booster seats are important, and remember, small children might want to continue using them beyond the age of five to help with seat belt comfort.

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