Arizona Seat Belt Laws
Always click your seat belt into place as soon as you slide into the seat of a motor vehicle. This is an instinctual action for many of us. Others have reminders to buckle up from their car’s beeping seat belt signal.
Why should we wear our seat belts? Why are seat belts so important in Arizona?
In the last 20 years, drivers in every state in the United States have increased the use of seat belts. In fact, front seat passenger safety belt use is six times higher now than in 1983.
Federal law requires all cars to have seat belts to provide that added protection. The seat belt helps you avoid injuries and keep you in your seat and away from things in the vehicle that can harm you in the event of an accident without warning.
Seat belts save lives. Amid the buzz surrounding the benefits of seat belts, seat belt injuries receive little attention. Seat belts are susceptible to malfunctioning. Failures of these systems can result in more serious injuries or wrongful death. You may recover additional damages if you believe a defective product or a seat belt failure caused your injuries.
In the Grand Canyon State, seat belt laws aim to keep drivers and passengers safe. NHTSA data shows that seat belts can reduce the risk of serious physical injury by up to 50 percent and death by up to 45 percent.
Arizona’s seat belt law can motivate you to buckle up if you don’t already. Motor vehicle operators in Arizona must wear seat belts. Drivers must also use child safety seats when transporting young passengers. If you disobey the state’s seat belt laws, you may receive a traffic citation and a fine. An unbuckled driver can also suffer a life-changing injury in an accident, though not wearing your seat belt does not necessarily prevent you from seeking compensation for your injuries.
Arizona Seat Belt Laws: What Are They?
Two laws, Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-909 and ARS 28-907, contain Arizona’s seat belt requirements. ARS 28-909 says that in all vehicles manufactured in 1972 and afterward, front-seat occupants must use seat belts while the vehicle is in motion. The law exempts school buses that can carry more than ten passengers.
The driver must ensure that all passengers under 16 wear seat belts in Arizona. Arizona car seat laws require minors between the ages of one and four to sit in a front-facing seat. Booster seats are critical for children between the ages of five and seven and children under seven must sit in the back. Children can ride in a vehicle at age eight without a booster seat or car seat, but they must always wear a seat belt.
When traveling in someone else’s vehicle, even people who buckle their seat belts regularly forget to do the same. As a result, people are less likely to buckle their seat belts in cabs, rideshare rides, and with friends. The best way to ensure safety in other people’s vehicles is to remember to wear a seat belt.
Facts About Seat Belts
Seat belts provide drivers and passengers protection, but little information is available regarding the dangers associated with seat belt use in an accident. Motorists should know the potential hazards associated with seat belt use, considering that traffic crash injuries occur every 15 seconds in the U.S.
Here are some interesting facts about seat belt injuries:
- Diagonal belts and lap-and-diagonal belt combinations in auto accidents have caused rib, sternum, and upper abdomen injuries.
- Lap seat belts are often associated with spinal injuries.
- In 30 percent of accidents, chest, neck, and abdomen abrasions indicate internal injuries.
- One of the most standard causes of seat belt injuries is improperly wearing the belt.
In nearly all cases, seat belts prevent far worse injuries than the ones they cause.
Sometimes, however, seatbelts malfunction and injure people. Even when they break or don’t work as intended, product liability claims against seat-belt manufacturers are hard to prove. The primary source of compensation for any car accident injury, seat-belt related or otherwise, is the insurance company of the at-fault party. Recovering compensation for seat belt damage caused by a traffic collision requires the assistance of a car accident lawyer.
The Symptoms of a Seat Belt Injury
Arizona motorists suffer from a 70.7 injury rate per 100,000 people, according to a recent report. Thousands of drivers and passengers have survived due to safety belts over the years.
In an accident, even when they work properly, seat belts can cause:
- Abdominal Pain: Motor vehicle collisions often result in kidney damage, so accident victims should watch for pain near the hips and ribs as an indication.
- Bleeding: Organ compression caused by a crash and seat belt injuries can cause bleeding in the bladder or urinary tract.
- Breathing Issues: Accident victims with difficulty breathing may have suffered chest, lung, and heart injuries
- General Weakness: A weak feeling in the lower extremities, lower back, and abdomen can indicate internal damage.
- Stiff Neck: Car accidents may give drivers and passengers whiplash, and seat belt injuries can cause neck stiffness and even spinal cord damage.
It may take days for seat belt injuries to manifest.
A malfunctioning seat belt can cause:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Fractured bones
- Internal injury
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Fractured Bones
Primary Enforcement Laws for Seat Belts
In the 34 states with primary seat-belt enforcement laws, officers can pull over a motorist if they suspect the driver isn’t wearing a seat belt under primary enforcement seat belt laws. Officers can issue tickets for not wearing a seat belt. Many law enforcement agencies strictly enforce safety restraint use.
Though it’s a lesser traffic violation than speeding, not wearing a seat belt carries a fine in primary enforcement states. When the police pull you over for wearing a seat belt for the first time, some states may allow you to take a safety class to remove the infraction from your record. You can receive a ticket if the police previously cited you for not wearing your seat belt.
Secondary Enforcement Laws for Seat Belts
States with secondary enforcement of seat belts only allow police officers to issue tickets when they pull you over for another reason. For example, in Arizona, police cannot pull you over for not wearing your seat belt. Police must observe a primary traffic offense beforehand. If they pull you over for any other traffic infraction, and your seat belt isn’t on, you may get a ticket.
The Consequences of Not Wearing a Seat Belt in Arizona
The fines for violating Arizona’s seat belt laws depend on the number of people not wearing them. Each passenger is usually fined $10 for the first offense. The minimum fine for not securing children under five in a car safety seat is $50.
While Arizona’s seat belt fine might seem minor, you can face substantial losses and medical costs in an accident.
Seat Belts: Reasons to Wear Them
Seat belts protect drivers and passengers from the dangerous movements that can occur during a sudden stop or crash. Children should have proper restraints for their age, weight, and height.
Adults and children should wear seat belts when riding in motor vehicles. You or a loved one can walk away relatively unscathed from an accident if you wear a seat belt instead of suffering severe injuries or even death if you don’t. Buckle up to protect yourself, your family, and other drivers.
Malfunctioning Seat Belts
If seat belts do not work properly, they can worsen injuries in a collision.
Some defects in seat belts may include:
- A rip, or it tears off the seat
- A tear or snap in the seat belt material causes it to be defective
- The seat belt does not tighten properly or is too loose
- Despite wearing a seat belt, passengers get thrown into steering wheels or windshields
- Seat belt latch problems
Product liability and negligence cases require expert testimony and a detailed investigation. Design, manufacturing, and installation processes may contribute to the problem.
Safety Issues With Seat Belts
In a collision, seat belts can make the difference between life and death. Always wear and secure seat belts properly, including both shoulder harnesses and lap straps.
Seat Belt Types
Typically, seat belts have a shoulder strap and waist restraint. In accidents, a combination of lap and shoulder straps has proven more effective than old lap belts did.
All cars should have at least waist restraints. Note that some middle seats do not have full seat belts. To improve safety, get your car retrofitted with an updated version.
Seat Belt Accidents
According to the CDC’s report on car accidents without seat belts, 22,441 people died in car accidents without seat belts in one recent year. Seat belts could have prevented many of these deaths. While Arizona does not have a primary seat belt law, everyone in a vehicle should always wear seat belts.
In the United States, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death. Consistent, proper use of seat belts can decrease the number of car accident deaths in the U.S.
With this knowledge, you will understand what makes wearing a seat belt while driving important. Contact our car accident lawyers if you suffered seat belt-related injuries or a car crash otherwise injured you.