What Are Oregon’s Seat Belt Laws?

Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death throughout the country, and the Oregon Department of Transportation says that there were more than 50,000 total traffic collisions during the latest reporting year of data. Out of these incidents, the DOT reports that there were approximately 40,000 injuries and 502 total fatalities. One of the most successful preventative measures that Oregon drivers and passengers can use are seat belts. It is vital that any resident or visitor to the state of Oregon understands what the seat belt laws are for this state.

Oregon seat belt laws

Under ORS 811.210 – 811.225, we can see that all motor vehicle drivers and passengers are required to be properly secured with a seat belt. This applies to passenger cars, pickup trucks, motor homes, etc.

All children under two years of age must be secured in a rear-facing child seat. Children who are 40 pounds or more or who have reached the upper weight limit for their forward-facing car seats are required to use a child seat with a harness or a booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall or are eight years of age.

Children who have reached eight years of age should only use the car seat belt if the belt fits them properly. This means that the lap belt must be positioned low across their thighs, and the shoulder belt portion should be positioned over the collarbone away from the child’s neck.

There are no laws in Oregon specifically prohibiting children from riding in the front seat of a vehicle. However, rear-facing child seats cannot be placed in a front seat position that is equipped with an airbag. This would be a violation of Oregon’s requirement for “proper use” of a child safety seat system. The national “best practice” recommendations put forth by the US Department of Transportation recommend that all children under the age of 12 ride in the rear seats of a vehicle.

Oregon seat belt law penalties

Failure to follow seat belt laws in Oregon could result in a Class D traffic violation and lead to a maximum fine of $250 or a minimum fine of $65. The presumptive fine, in these cases, is $115.

Seat belts save lives

According to data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seat belts save approximately 15,000 lives in the United States every year. The CDC states that, for adults and older children, seat belt usage is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes.

Injuries in car crashes can be severe for those who are not wearing seat belts. It is not uncommon for unrestrained drivers and passengers to sustain the following injuries:

  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Open head wounds
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Severe lacerations or amputations
  • and more

In states where seat belt laws are primary violations, meaning that police officers can pull somebody over and issue a citation solely for a seat belt violation, seat belt usage is much higher. Oregon is a primary seat belt law state.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact our Portland car accident attorneys today.