Arizona’s Seatbelt Laws
You might know that you should wear a seatbelt for safety reasons, but did you know you must wear one under Arizona law? The state of Arizona is one of many that makes it mandatory for drivers to wear seatbelts while operating vehicles. The statewide seatbelt law aims to increase the safety of drivers and their passengers, as seatbelts save lives in the event of Arizona car accidents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to prevent serious injury and death in a vehicle collision. Lawmakers in Arizona strive to reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths in car accidents by enacting a statewide seatbelt law, and punishing those who disobey. Here’s what to know about the law regarding seatbelt use in the Grand Canyon State.
Primary and Secondary Seatbelt Laws
There are two main types of seatbelt laws: primary and secondary. A primary enforcement law is one that police officers can make traffic stops to cite, without needing any other reason to pull the driver over. A secondary enforcement law is one that police can only cite if they pull the driver over for another reason, such as speeding or rolling through a stop sign. Arizona is unique in that it has both types of seatbelt laws in place – primary and secondary.
Arizona is a secondary enforcement state for adult drivers and passengers. This means an officer cannot pull a driver over simply for failing to wear his or her seatbelt. The driver could, however, receive a citation for failing to wear a seatbelt if the officer conducts the stop for another, unrelated reason and notices the driver is not wearing a seatbelt. The fine for failing to wear a seatbelt as an adult in a vehicle is no more than $10 for each violation. The municipality uses these fees to benefit the local jurisdiction. Note that riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck unrestrained is legal in the state of Arizona.
When it comes to child passengers, Arizona uses a primary enforcement seatbelt law. Drivers must make sure that all children 16 and younger use seatbelts. Children under the age of eight and shorter than 4’9” must be properly secured in appropriate child restraint systems, such as a booster or car seat. Law enforcement officers can pull over a driver for the sole reason that there is an unrestrained or improperly restrained child in the vehicle. A driver that breaks this law could face a civil penalty of $50 per violation.
Child Seatbelt and Restraint Requirements
The CDC finds that car seats reduce the risk of infant death by 71% and toddlers (ages one to four) by 54%. In children four to eight years old, booster seats reduce the risk of injury by 45% compared to seatbelt use alone. Seatbelts reduce the risk of death and serious injury in older children by about 50%. It’s incredibly important for parents and adult drivers to make sure children are properly secured in the right type of seat before driving. In Arizona, child restraint systems must abide by federal safety standards, and drivers must use them in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
To make sure they obey the law and keep kids safe, parents can sign up for car/booster seat safety inspections through the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). The ADOT hosts inspection stations throughout the year to keep children safe and to educate parents on proper car seat safety. In Arizona, an officer can pull someone over on the suspicion that a child passenger is not in a proper safety seat, or is not wearing a seatbelt. The money gathered from the $50 fines will go to the Child Restraint Fund in Arizona, to purchase child restraint systems for parents in need.
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