Advocates Push For Mandatory Seat Belts For All Oklahoma Kids


Wednesday, January 8th 2020, 5:32 pm
By: Kristen Weaver


Oklahoma is the only state that doesn't require some children to wear seat belts. Now, a Green Country lawmaker is trying to change that.

Right now, there is no law in Oklahoma that says an 8-year-old like Millie Washington has to buckle up in the backseat.

St. John injury prevention nurse Krista Norrid said it could be deadly.

"Somebody with a body size of an 8-year-old, their spine and neck isn't equipped to withhold the force of a car," said Krista Norrid, St. John RN Injury Prevention and Trauma Educator.

Back in 2015, lawmakers mandated kids under 8 to sit in a booster or car seat, but an oversight left out a law for kids ages 8-17. Oklahoma is currently the only state without a law requiring kids that age to buckle up in the back seat.

Broken Arrow representative Ross Ford says it's time for a change.

"We can't afford to have these young peoples' life end," Ford said.

Ford was a Tulsa police officer for more than two decades and says he saw the importance of wearing a seat belt from so many deadly crashes.

"You don't forget about them," said Ford.

Millie told the community her mom always tells her to buckle up and every kid should do the same.

"I don't think the kids should die anymore from not being buckled up," said Millie.

Oklahoma Highway Safety Office data said in 2017, 16 children between the ages 8 and 17 died in crashes, and another 67 were seriously hurt.

None of them were wearing seat belts.

"Buckle them up. They have the right to stay safe," Norrid said.

Representative Ford says he hopes to see Governor Stitt sign the bill into law this year.