Seat belts are designed to keep us safe. Sadly, thousands of driver’s don’t buckle up, leading to pointless injuries and even death every year. In Arizona, they take wearing seat belts very seriously, and there are several specific laws in place concerning them. If you drive a vehicle in Arizona, it’s imperative that you fully understand the Arizona seat belt law.
What is the Arizona Seat Belt Law?
There are two forms of seat belt laws; primary and secondary enforcement. With the primary enforcement law, police officers can pull over a vehicle for a suspected seat belt violation. Secondary enforcement only allows officers to issue a citation for seat belt non-compliance during a traffic stop for a different violation. Drivers of a vehicle manufactured after 1972 are required to have their lap belt and shoulder belt, if applicable, adjusted and fastened appropriately.
Can You Be Stopped for Non-compliance?
Arizona is a secondary seat belt law state, meaning that you can’t simply be stopped because you aren’t wearing a seat belt. It has to be for another offense initially. So if you’re stopped for an unrelated reason, and it’s determined you or someone else in the vehicle weren’t wearing a seat belt, you can be cited for non-compliance.
The penalties for non-compliance depend largely on how many people in the vehicle weren’t wearing seat belts when you were stopped. In most instances, the first offense penalty is $10 per individual not wearing their seat belt.
Why You Should Wear Seat Belts
Because they save lives. State troopers, deputies and police officers see the heartbreaking consequences that are the result of unrestrained drivers and their passengers every day. In Arizona during 2014, approximately 110,000 accidents, with 708 resulting in fatalities, were due to unrestrained occupants. Motor vehicle accidents are the primary cause of death among teenagers.
Research has shown that seat belts significantly reduce serious motor vehicle crash-related injuries and fatalities by about half. It’s also important to keep in mind that while airbags provide additional protection, they are not an alternative to seat belts. Together, seat belts and air bags provide the most effective safety measures for adults.
Types of Seat Belts
There are several types of seat belts. Most common are shoulder and lap belt devices. In some cases, especially with older vehicles, the middle seats only have lap belts as safety restraints, which aren’t effective by themselves. There are also harness restraint devices. However, those are typically only found in race cars, and rarely used for passenger vehicles. If your vehicle’s seat belts are out of date, you can have them retrofitted to provide Arizona state law compliant safety restraints.
Using seat belts is the most effective way to reduce injuries and save lives, yet millions of people don’t buckle up every time they get in the car. If you’ve been in an accident, regardless of whether or not you’ve followed the Arizona seat belt law, give us a call at (602) 212-0202. We’re here to answer your questions and offer assistance if you need it.