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Safety Belts & Child Seats

The goal of the Occupant Protection Program is to promote correct and consistent use of safety belts and child safety seats.


​Watch this 3-minute video presentation about Oregon's safety belt and child seat laws.

Wear Safety Belts video

Specific wording of statutory requirements can be found at ORS 811.210 - 811.225. *Note: You will have to scroll down to the appropriate statute number to locate the actual full text.

Adult Belt Law
Oregon law requires that all motor vehicle operators and passengers be properly secured with a safety belt or safety harness, unless all safety-belt equipped seating positions are occupied by other persons. This applies to passenger cars, pick up trucks, motor homes, and fee-based people transport carrying fifteen or fewer persons. Limited exemptions are allowed under ORS 811.215. Vehicle owners are required to maintain belt systems in working order.

Motor Homes
Motor homes are considered passenger vehicles under Oregon law and as such, adult belt and child seat requirements also apply to motor homes --- but only to forward-facing vehicle seating positions (those meeting federal safety standards for seat belt anchorages).  Therefore, occupants should utilize all forward-facing belted positions before using side or rear-facing positions.  

Commercial Vehicles
Oregon's safety belt law requires occupants of privately-owned commercial vehicles transporting 15 or fewer persons to use safety restraints including occupants of shuttles, taxis, limousines and vans. Among these types of vehicles, taxi cab drivers are the only occupants excepted from this rule. 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is implementing agency laws and rules relating to the use of ATVs.

Medical Exemptions
ORS 811.220  The Director of Transportation shall issue a certificate of exemption under ORS 811.215 for any person on whose behalf a statement signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant is presented to the Department of Transportation. The statement must clearly explain why the use of a child safety restraint system, safety belt or safety harness by the person would be impractical or harmful to the person by reason of physician condition, medical problem or body size.

A safety restraint exemption cannot be issued for commercial drivers per Federal Code 392-16.

​Faxes cannot be accepted. Please send ORIGINAL copies only.

Safety Belt Medical Exemption Form

For more information, please contact the Transportation Safety Division at 503-986-4146.

​Child Safety Seat Law
Child passengers must be restrained in child safety seats until they weigh forty pounds or reach the upper weight limit for the car seat in use. Infants must ride rear-facing until they reach two years of age unless the child turned age one prior to May 26, 2017.

Booster Seat Law
Children over forty pounds or who have reached the upper weight limit for their forward-facing car seat must use a child seat with harness or a booster to 4'9" tall or age eight and the adult belt fits correctly.

Rear Seating for Children
There is no Oregon law specifically prohibiting children from riding in the front seat of passenger vehicles. However, a rear-facing infant seat cannot be placed in a front seating position that is equipped with an airbag because this would violate Oregon's requirement for "proper use" of a child safety seat. There is a national "best practice recommendation" calling for rear seating through age twelve.

National "Best Practice" Recommendations
Safety experts from USDOT have published national best practices recommendations which would keep children in each type of child seat longer than Oregon law prescribes, in addition to back seating through age twelve.

Belt or Booster
Belt fit can vary greatly from one vehicle to another and one child to another. If your child meets Oregon's legal requirements for moving from a booster seat to safety belt but you still have doubts about whether your child fits in the belt in your particular vehicle, then the following simple test can help. Place your child in the vehicle without a booster seat and then ask these questions. Until you can answer YES to all of the questions, your child should stay in a booster seat.

  1. Can the child sit all the way back against the vehicle seat?
  2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the seat?
  3. Does the shoulder belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
  4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
  5. Can the child stay comfortably seated like this for the whole trip?  

​Oregon’s safety belt overtime enforcement program is a statewide selective traffic enforcement program (STEP) that seeks to reduce the number of motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries by increasing public awareness of laws regarding the three most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crash injuries: safety restraint use, speed, and impaired drivers.

Overtime Enforcement Grant Contacts

OSP - Laura Steward 503-934-0264

OSSA - Marianne Novotny 503-364-4204

PDs - 503-986-4199

Events and Information

Passenger Vehicle Fatalities and Belt Usage by County 2009-2015
Children 0-9 Killed or Injured by County 2008-2015

ODOT Now Accepting Safety Belt Overtime Grant Applications for FY2018

Applications and instructions for Safety Belt Overtime Enforcement funding are listed below for police departments wishing to participate in the ODOT highway safety grant program during the October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018 grant year. Acceptance of funding will obligate your agency to conduct overtime traffic enforcement during three two-week, statewide blitz periods occurring in February, May and August 2018.

2017-2018 Pre-Application for Safety Belt OT Grant​

FY2017 Police Department OT Policies

FY2017 Police Department OT Schedule

FY2017 Police Department OT Officer Report Form
Copies must be attached and submitted with each Summary Report

FY2017 Police Department OT Summary Report
Can be submitted monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly but must accompany each claim for reimbursement. Form is set to auto-calculate total claim amount and grant amount remaining.

100 Car Belt Use Survey Form


Kelly Mason
Program Manager

Transportation Safety Division
ODOT-TLC Building, MS 3
4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302-1142


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