Arizona is a secondary enforcement state, except for children under the age of five. Arizona requires the use of safety belts where they are installed, by front seat occupants of a motor vehicle. The driver of the vehicle is responsible for the use of safety belts by all passengers under the age of 16, whereas front seat passengers at least 16 years of age may be cited for a safety belt violation. The maximum civil penalty for a person violating this law is $10 for each violation. All fees imposed and collected by municipal courts are retained by the municipality to the benefit of the local jurisdiction. Arizona does not prohibit or restrict passengers from riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck. Arizona has a primary enforcement child passenger restraint system law. Persons operating a motor vehicle when transporting a child who is under five years of age must have the child properly such as a child safety seat or a booster seat.
Drivers transporting more than one child must secure as many children in child passenger restraints as is reasonable given the size of the passenger area and the number of passengers being transported.
Child Restraint System Requirements
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has adopted standards for child passenger restraint systems in accordance with federal child restraint system laws (49 Code of Federal Regulations § 571.213). Child safety restraint systems used in Arizona must therefore meet federal safety standards and must be used by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Many local government agencies offer free inspections of child safety seats by certified technicians, who will ensure that the seat meets federal guidelines, is the right size for the child and is installed correctly. Inspection locations can be obtained through ADOT or the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
Seat belts are the most effective safety devices in vehicles today, estimated to save 12,000 lives each year. Yet only 50 percent of the motor vehicle occupants are buckled. During the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 249 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in fatal crashes. 50 percent of those were unrestrained.
If 90 percent of Americans buckle up, we will prevent more than 5,500 deaths and 132,000 injuries annually.
The cost of unbuckled drivers and passengers goes beyond those killed and the loss to their families. We all pay for those who don’t buckle up – in higher taxes, higher health care and higher insurance costs.
On average, inpatient hospital care costs for an unbelted crash victim are 50 percent higher than those for a belted crash victim. Society bears 85 percent of those costs, not the individuals involved. Every American pays about $580 a year toward the cost of crashes. If everyone buckled up, this figure would drop significantly.
By reaching the goal of 90 percent seat belt use, and 25 percent reduction in child fatalities by the year 2005, we will save $8.8 billion annually.
Everyone is Part of the Solution
Buckle Up for Life is a broad, public-private partnership of community and health groups, safety advocates, businesses, law enforcement, legislators, public officials and concerned citizens sponsored by Toyota. This program originated in Cincinnati and has been expanded into Phoenix. These partners realize that seat belts and child safety seats save lives and money. And because everyone is affected when others ride unbuckled, everyone must be a part of the solution.