Contact: State Rep. Ross Ford
Office: (405) 557-7347
Ford Files “All Kids Buckled Up” Legislation
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Ross Ford (R-Broken Arrow) today held press conferences in Oklahoma City and Broken Arrow to announce his filing of legislation that would strengthen seat belt laws for young people.
House Bill 2791 would require all youth aged 17 or younger to wear seat belts when riding in the back seat of a vehicle on Oklahoma roadways.
“This bill is about protecting our young people from death or serious injury when they are riding as passengers in our automobiles,” For said. “As a former police officer, the worst news you can ever deliver to a parent is that their child was killed in a car crash because they were not wearing a seat belt.”
Currently, state law requires only youth ages 8 or younger to wear a seat belt while riding in the backseat of a moving vehicle.
Ford worked with AAA, Safe Kids Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) to draft the legislation, which is supported by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma Hospital Association, chiefs of police organizations throughout the state and others.
Oklahoma ranks 50th nationwide in protecting children in car crashes, which is the leading cause of death and injury to those 8 and older in our state, according to information from AAA. Oklahoma is the only state in the nation without a law requiring children 8 to 17 to wear a seat belt when riding in the back seat of a moving vehicle. Over half of deaths and serious injuries in car crashes can be prevented with proper use of seat belts.
According to data from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, 67 children ages 8 to 17 were injured and 16 were killed in 2017 in Oklahoma who weren’t wearing seat belts.
Ford recommended Oklahomans contact their state representatives and senators to voice their support of HB279.
Officials from AAA spoke at Wednesday’s press conferences. Several young people also shared personal stories of how seat belts saved or changed their lives.