Between 1997 and 1999, twenty-five Arkansas children, ages infant to four years old, who were not buckled into a child restraint system were killed in traffic crashes that occurred on Arkansas streets and highways. Over 800 children under 4 were injured. Sixty-eight children between the ages of 5 and 15, none wearing seat belts, died in Arkansas traffic crashes. Had child safety restraints or seat belts been in place, many of these children could have been saved or escaped without injury.
What is the law?
Arkansas law requires all children under the age of fifteen years who are passengers in a motor vehicle to be buckled-up. Furthermore, children younger than six years of age and weighing less than sixty pounds must be restrained in approved safety seats.
Arkansas is among a group of states that require seat belt use by drivers and front seat passengers.
In July of 2009, the law was changed to a primary offense law. This means that law enforcement officers can stop vehicles and issue citations if they don't see the occupants wearing their seat belts. Previously, police had to have a reasonable cause other than a seat belt violation to stop a vehicle and cite a violator. Arkansas is the 27th state in the nation to adopt a primary-offense seat belt law.
What's different about these few "Click it or Ticket" weeks?
Over the course of the eight-day operation, law enforcement officers will use sobriety checkpoints and other enforcement techniques to impose the child safety seat and seat belt laws.
The ordinary law still applies. They will just be enforcing it more heavily. If police see an unrestrained child, they will be more likely to pull you over. On most other Arkansas days, you have a good chance the officer wouldn't pull you over for only having an unrestrained child.
Don't I have a right to risk my life if I want to?
According to the law, no. However, it's my understanding that "Click it or Ticket" isn't really about protecting the lives of those who are able to make informed decisions. It's about protecting the kids who can't protect themselves. Besides, children learn from their parents' habits. Seeing you buckling-up now can only help them in the future when they are taking off in their first new car. It's worth the extra 5 minutes to save a life (and a few bucks! Tickets are costly).