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Phone Number: 503 986-4199
FAX: 503 986-3143
ODOT - Transportation Safety Division - MS 3
4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302-1142
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Safety belts and child safety seats save lives. Oregon Department of Transportation's Safety Division offers tips for using safety belts and child safety seats properly. No excuses - it's the Way to Go!
Watch this 3-minute video presentation explaining Oregon's safety belt and child seat laws.
Wear Safety Belts
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Promote correct and consistent use of safety belts, child safety seats and other occupant restraint devices through:
- Public information and education
- Law enforcement overtime grants
- Child passenger safety technician training grants
- Child safety seat subsidy program grants
- Legislative support
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The following are general descriptions of Oregon's safety belt and child restraint laws. 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, motorhomes, 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.
CHILD RESTRAINT 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 both one year of age AND twenty pounds.
BOOSTER SEAT LAW
Children over forty pounds or who have reached the upper weight limit for their forward-facing car seat must use boosters 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 have published guidelines which would keep children in each type of child seat longer than Oregon law prescribes, in addition to back seating through age twelve. Click the link for the latest national best practices recommendations
from USDOT National Highway Traffic Safety.
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?
Motor homes are considered passenger vehicles under Oregon law and as such, adult belt and child seat requirements apply also 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.
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.
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.
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Faxes cannot be accepted. Please send ORIGINAL copies only.
For more information, please contact the Transportation Safety Division at (503) 986-4146.
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Child Seat Selection and Installation
Child Seat Products Listing
Oregon Car Seat Check Up Calendar NHTSA Car Seat Fitting Station LocatorNational Certification Program for TechniciansCheck up Event Guidelines
On-Line Technician Training
Safe Kids World Wide
National Child Passenger Safety Board
Kidz In Motion (KIM) National Child Passenger Safety Conference
CPS Technician Training
Contact: Tammy Franks
Scheduled Child Passenger Safety Courses in Oregon - Updated 02-15-17
Local Program Coordination
Please contact the individuals below for information on training or community mini-grants in your Region.
Community CPS Education Mini-Grants
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Statewide crash fatality and
injury rates have dropped 62% and 32% respectively since passage of the adult
belt law in 1990. The law, combined with active enforcement, has resulted in a
2016 Oregon belt use rate of 96.24% for all occupants, placing Oregon among the
top belt-use states in the U.S. This compares to a 2016 nationwide average rate
of 90.1% among all states.
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 most prevalent factors contributing to
traffic crash injuries: lack of proper safety restraint use, speed,
distraction, and impaired drivers. Over one hundred city, county and state
police agencies utilize federally funded overtime during three two-week “blitz”
periods annually. ODOT's Transportation Safety Division provides public
education support and participating agencies are asked to conduct public
awareness/media activities before and after each blitz. Observed belt use
rates, crash injury statistics, number/type of enforcement contacts, and public
awareness surveys are used to evaluate Campaign success. Officers are
encouraged to acquire advanced specialized training in correct use of child
safety systems, and to nurture community awareness of traffic safety issues
During the 2016 grant year, $556,938
in federal safety belt overtime expenditure provided 7,469 hours of enforcement
and paid officers to assist at child seat checks and other local educational
events. Total overtime contacts were as follows: 5,169 safety belt, 239 child
seat, 5,944 speeding, 39 DUII, 767 suspensions, 149 felonies, and 9,609 other
violations. To put these efforts and expenditures into perspective,
consider that safety belts are 45-65% effective in preventing fatalities.
In 2010 nationwide, there were 32,999
people killed, 3.9 million injured, and 24 million vehicles damaged in motor
vehicle crashes according to the most recent USDOT cost studies published May
2015. Safety belt use is credited with preventing 12,500 fatalities,
308,000 serious injuries, and $50 billion in injury related costs in 2010, but
the failure of a substantial portion of the driving population to buckle up
caused 3,350 unnecessary fatalities, 54,300 serious injuries, and cost society
$10 billion in easily preventable injury related costs.
For more information on this
program, contact Carla Levinski, ODOT Occupant Protection Program Manager at
Overtime Enforcement Grant Contacts:
OSP - Laura Steward (503) 934-0264 Laura.Steward@state.or.us
OSSA - Marianne Novotny (503) 364-4204 Marianne@oregonsheriffs.org
PDs - Carla Levinski (503) 986-4199 Carla.L.Levinski@odot.state.or.us
2017 Pre-Applications for Belt Overtime Enforcement Grants:
Applications and instructions for Police Departments wishing to participate in ODOT’s highway safety grant program during the October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017 grant year can be found here. 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 2017.
Completed applications must be mailed or submitted electronically to ODOT Transportation Safety Division by September 15, 2016
.2017 Pre-Application Form