All Kids Buckled Up
by Betsey Kulakowski, CSHO, COSS
Executive Director, Oklahoma Safety Council
On behalf of members of the All Kids Buckled Up coalition
Last again. If this were OU Football, the fans would be up in arms. But this is something much more important than football. This is about protecting the lives of our children. Oklahoma currently ranks #50 in protecting our children in car crashes, which is the #1 cause of death and injury among those 8 and older in our state. Each year 67 children ages 8-17 are injured, and 16 are killed in Oklahoma because they weren’t wearing seat belts*. Oklahoma law currently only requires seatbelts for passengers in the back seat younger than 8-years-old.
We know that seat belts are the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to save a life in the car. If a person is in a crash, and they’re buckled up, they are 45% more likely to survive it**. Organizations like SafeKids Oklahoma, AAA, and the Oklahoma Safety Council, as well as other traffic safety groups, have been working for four years to get a bill passed to remedy the problem. Legislators say they support the idea of the law and require their own children to buckle up in the back seat of vehicles, yet they seem to think voters would oppose the bill and are of the opinion that such a law is an infringement on personal rights.
Once again, safety leaders are taking up the banner to change the laws in Oklahoma, but your help is needed. If you care about children’s safety in Oklahoma, contact your state representative and senator to convey the message that our children’s safety is not an infringement on anyone’s personal rights. Oklahoma children must all be buckled up for the healthy future they deserve no matter where they sit in vehicles.
OSC invites you to stand with us to support “All Kids Buckled Up” on Thursday, September 26th at 3 pm on the south steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol to let our voices be heard.
*2017 crash data from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office for children under 18.
**Additional information from the National Safety Council.