Today’s technology makes cars safer than ever before. But you might be surprised to learn that one of the most important features for car safety has been around since the 1800s: the trusty seat belt.
While they’re not exactly new to the market, seat belts remain one of the most effective ways to reduce injuries and prevent death in car crashes. In fact, seat belts are so crucial for car safety that Arkansas lawmakers have passed several laws regarding their use. Let’s take a look.
Who is required to wear a seat belt in Arkansas?
The laws that govern seat belt usage in Arkansas depend on a few factors.
- Location: Where are you sitting? Arkansas law requires each driver and front-seat passenger to wear a seat belt at all times. This applies to any street or highway in Arkansas.
- Age: All children under the age of 15 must wear a seat belt, regardless of their location in the vehicle. Children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat.
- Weight: Children who are younger than 6 years old and who weigh less than 60 pounds should ride in a child safety seat. Car seats should never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle. If the child is older than 6 years or weighs more than 60 pounds, he or she can use the vehicle’s standard seat belt.
Does this mean that adults in Arkansas can opt not to “buckle up” in the back seat? Legally, yes. But the research is clear: wearing a seat belt significantly reduces your risk of injury or death in a wreck.
It’s also worth noting that if the driver has a restricted license, every passenger in the car must use their seat belt. This applies to drivers under the age of 18 as well as those with restrictions for prior driving offenses.
For more information on using child safety seats, visit our recent post: Car Seat Laws in Arkansas.
Is it illegal to ride in the bed of a truck?
The law in Arkansas says yes. AR Code 27-35-104 specifies:
“No person shall ride on any vehicle upon any portion of the vehicle not designed or intended for the use of passengers.” Because truck beds were designed to carry cargo, not people, they would fall under this category. To protect your friends and avoid a traffic stop, insist that all passengers ride inside the vehicle.”
Can police stop vehicles if passengers aren’t wearing seat belts?
Arkansas has primary-offense seat belt laws. This means that officers don’t need another reason to pull you over. If they see a driver or passenger not wearing a seat belt as required by law, they can stop that car and issue a citation.