Arizona seat belt laws were designed to keep drivers and their passengers as safe as possible whenever operating a vehicle. Regardless of whether there are seat belt laws in your state or not, if you are in a vehicle, you should be wearing a seat belt. This simple act can help to reduce the chances of injury or death.
There are no Federal laws governing the use of seat belts, but instead each state has it’s own set of laws in regards to seat belts. There are two kinds of seat belt laws, primary and secondary enforcement. Arizona is a secondary enforcement state. To help our readers understand these differences better, we will explain them more in-depth.
Primary Enforcement Laws for Wearing Seat Belts
Primary enforcement seat belt laws allow an officer to pull a driver over if they have reason to believe the driver is not wearing a seat belt. They then subsequently have the authority to issue a ticket for not wearing your seat belt. This is the highest level of enforcement available to the state regarding the use of safety restraints.
The traffic violation for not wearing a seat belt is a lesser fine than speeding, but can still be significant. In many states, if it is your first time being pulled over for a primary enforcement of wearing a seat belt, you may have the opportunity to take a safety with seat belts class and have the infraction removed from your record. If you have previously been pulled over for not wearing your seat belt, you will receive a ticket.
Secondary Enforcement Laws for Wearing Seat Belts
Secondary enforcement gives police officers the authority to give you a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, but only if you were pulled over for another reason. This means that you will not get pulled over in Arizona for not wearing your seat belt, but if you are pulled over for any other traffic infraction and they see you are not wearing a seat belt, you will receive a ticket for it.
State of Arizona Seat Belt Law
In Arizona, there are two main sections to the seat belt law.
1. Driver and passengers in the front seat must have the waist and chest strap properly fastened and in place if the vehicle is moving.
Note: Arizona does not require passengers in the back seat to wear a seat belt by law, but it is always recommended to wear a seat belt no matter where you are sitting in a car.
2. Anyone under the age of 16 must wear a seat belt while in a moving vehicle, no matter where they are seated.
Note: If you are driving with a minor in the car and their seat belt is not fastened, you are responsible and can receive a ticket. Any adult sitting in the front seat without a seat belt will be responsible for themselves and receive their own ticket.
Child Seat Requirements
Although Arizona is only a secondary enforcement state for seat belts, child car seat requirements are very strict. As a driver, you are responsible for the passengers in your car, including minors, even if they are not your own children. According to Arizona laws, any child under the age of five is required to be in a car seat no matter their height or weight.
The DMV gives the following requirements for children over the age of 5 and under the age of 8:
- Child restraint device for children under 8 years old AND 4’9” tall and under.
- Booster seat for children 5-7 years old AND/OR under 4’9” tall.
Types of Seat Belts
The most common form of seat belts are waist restraints with a shoulder strap as well. The combination of the lap and shoulder straps have been proven to be the effective in accidents. All cars should be suited with at least a waist restrain. However, some middle or “bucket” seats do not have a full seat belt. If your car has outdated seat belts, it is recommended to get them retrofitted with an updated version to ensure better safety.
Why Do We Need Seat Belts?
You would like to think that everyone would choose to be as safe as possible while driving a car, but experience has showed us otherwise. Somehow, the use of a seat belt has become viewed as an optional part of driving. For this reason states have had to introduce seat belt laws to encourage safety.
Many fatalities in vehicle accidents each year involve individuals that are not wearing seat belts. The simple act of buckling up can make all the difference in an accident. Interestingly enough, even people who buckle up regularly in their own car, forget to buckle their seat belts when they are in someone else’s car. This means in cabs, Uber rides, rides with friends, etc., people are less likely to buckle their seat belt. Remember that your safety is top priority, and wearing a seat belt is the best way to do so in other people’s vehicles.
Accidents Without Seat Belts
The CDC’s report on car accidents without seat belts showed that in 2015, 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants died in car accidents. The study showed that more than half of these passengers did not have a seat belt on at the time of the accident.
The hardest thing to accept about these deaths, is that many of them could have potentially been avoided had the passenger been wearing their seat belt. Even if it is not a primary enforced law in Arizona, it is recommended that everyone where a seat belt each and every time they are in a vehicle.
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. The consistent, proper use of seat belts can help in decreasing the amount of deaths in the U.S. from car accidents. Most states are making the transition towards adopting the primary enforcement law for seat belts due to the steady increase in car accident fatalities without the use of a seat belt.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.