Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

Primary Seat Belt Law

ACHI advocated for many years to strengthen Arkansas’s seat belt laws. Before July 2009, state law required use of restraints by drivers and front seat passengers, but this was not a primary offense. ACHI contributed to the legislative dialogue and educated lawmakers about the financial costs, injury and death that were caused by not using safety belts. ACHI’s analyses of crash data in conjunction with hospital discharge data showed that in 2006, hospitalization following a traffic crash occurred ten-times more frequently for unbelted drivers compared to those who were belted during a crash. When it came to the cost of not wearing a seat belt, crash-related hospitalization charges were 15.5 times higher for unbelted drivers—$2.7 million for every 1,000 unbelted drivers versus $174,000 for every 1,000 drivers wearing a seat belt in a crash.

The 87th General Assembly passed Act 308 of 2009, which changed the Arkansas law 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.


The following resources have been made available as part of this project page. Resources are typically files like PDFs or Word documents, and will be downloaded when you click them.

» Act 308 of 2009 (PDF)
News Releases
Fact Sheets

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Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
1401 West Capitol
Suite 300 (Victory Building)
Little Rock, AR 72201