A state Senator wants to raise the fine for not buckling up children

Tuesday, March 1st 2005, 9:59 am
By: News On 6

A state Senator from Edmond says far too many adults put their children in cars without properly buckling them in.

As News on 6 reporter Rick Wells explains, now the senator wants to increase the fine as an incentive for those adults to obey the law.

Brad and Dana Ray believe their daughter Alissa will be safer in a car seat; they're in line at EMSA's monthly car seat check and give away to get one. "You've seen how bad some wrecks are, they're little bodies couldn't handle anything without being protected pretty good."

State Senator Clark Jolley wishes all parents felt that way. "Approximately 70 percent of children in Oklahoma are buckled in correctly." That means, he says, too many kids are not and he wants to bring the fine for a child restraint violation more in line with where he thinks it should be. "Reckless driving in Oklahoma endangering someone else's life is over $400, but if you endanger the lives of your kids or someone else's kids by failing to restrain them in a child safety seat the maximum hit is $25."

He thinks that's ridiculously low and hopes the rest of the legislature will agree. He's introduced a bill to raise the state fine to $50 plus court costs. Violators are getting tickets.

Tulsa Police wrote more than 1,300 tickets last year for child restraint violations, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers almost 3,500.

Senator Jolley hopes an increase fine will encourage parents to get serious about child safety. "If you're gonna drive with a child in the back seat of your car you need to have that child in restraint, that child needs to be safe.”

Senator Jolley says the bill easily passed a state Senate committee, and is on the Senate's general calendar. He says it could be a difficult sell because of opposition from some rural senators. He says it should come up later this week or next.