Back to Top
Phone Number: 503 986-4199
FAX: 503 986-3143
ODOT - Transportation Safety Division - MS 3
4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302-1142
Back to Top
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 explaining Oregon's safety belt and child seat laws.
Wear Safety Belts - Adobe Flash Player
Back to Top
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
Back to Top
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 approved child safety seats until they weigh forty pounds or reach the upper weight limit for the carseat 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 carseat 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 is presented to the Department of Transportation. For a physician's statement to qualify under this section, the physician giving the statement must set forth reasons in the statement why the use of a child safety seat system, or 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.
Back to Top
Faxes can not be accepted. Please send in ORIGINAL copies only.
For more information, please contact Melody McGee, Seatbelt Medical Exemption Coordinator:
Back to Top
Child Seat Selection and Installation
Child Seat Products Listing
Oregon Car Seat CheckUp Calendar NHTSA Car Seat Fitting Station LocatorNational Certification Program for TechniciansCheckup Event Guidelines
On-Line Technician Training
Safe Kids World Wide
National Child Passenger Safety Board
Kidz In Motion (KIM) National Child Passenger Safety Conference
Scheduled Courses in Oregon
Child Passenger Safety Certification Courses
December 5-7, 2015 Woodburn Fire Department, Woodburn
April 15-17, 2015 OCDC, Wilsonville
June 22-24, 2015 Eugene Police Department, Eugene
July 22-24, 2015 Randall Children's Hospital, Portland
Child Passenger Safety Technician Renewal Course
January 30, 2015 Randall Children's Hospital, Portland
KIDZ In Motion Update (Technical Update)
February 23, 2015 Legacy Meridian Park, Tualatin
May 7, 2015 Sherwood Police Department, Sherwood
PENDING Linn County
PENDING Lane County
Safe Travel for All Children
July 8-9, 2015 Randall Children's Hospital, Portland
Please contact the individuals below for information on training or community mini-grants in your Region.
CPS Technician Training
Community CPS Education Mini-Grants
Back to Top
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. The “Three Flags Campaign”, as initiated, derived its name from a demonstration effort between Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia which lasted from 1993 - 2004. In 1999, the Oregon State Sheriffs Association, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Police Headquarters assumed daily grant management and active promotion of the program. Today, while ODOT’s Transportation Safety Division continues to coordinate a federally-funded overtime “STEP” in cooperation with these entities, most Oregon law enforcement agencies enforce safety belt laws year-round as a matter of routine.
Over one hundred city, county and state police agencies will utilize safety belt overtime during three two-week “blitz” periods during FY2013. ODOT's Transportation Safety Division provides scheduling and instructional materials to participating agencies prior to each blitz. Participating agencies are asked to conduct local belt use surveys and public awareness/media activities during the weeks prior to and following each blitz. Observed belt use rates, number of enforcement contacts, and public information activities reported by each agency measure 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 generally.
Statewide crash fatality and injury rates have dropped 54% and 24% respectively since passage of the adult belt law in 1990. The law, combined with active enforcement, has resulted in a 2013 Oregon belt use rate of 98% for all occupants, placing Oregon among the top two belt-use states in the U.S. This compares to a 2012 nationwide average rate of 86% among all states.
During the last previous grant year, $467,595 in federal safety belt overtime expenditure brought 54,419 total enforcement contacts and paid officers to assist at child seat checks and other local educational events. Total overtime contacts were as follows: 4,770 safety belt, 218 child seat, 3,859 speeding, 132 DUII, 1,072 suspensions, 249 felonies, and 29,604 other violations. To put these efforts and expenditures into perspective, consider that safety belts are 45-65% effective in preventing fatalities and that the average combined societal costs of one traffic death were estimated to be $1,090,000 (National Safety Council, 2002.)
For more information on this program, contact Carla Levinski, ODOT Occupant Protection Program Manager at (503) 986-4199.
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