State to Strengthen Child Seatbelt Laws

Texas has a new law that requires children under eight to be in a car safety seat unless they're taller than four-feet nine-inches. Rod Rice reports.

The new law will take effect as soon as the Governor signs it, or if he allows it to pass without his signature. The Department of Public Safety's Beth Warren says police may begin to enforce the law as soon as it passes.

"However law enforcement officers can not write actual citations and fines can not be assessed until June 1st of 2010.  What the officers can do in the meantime is that they can write either a written warning or they can give a verbal warning."

That is to give parents time to get the required seat and fully understand the new law.

"It's all children younger than eight unless that child is already four-foot-nine.  It is not all children who are shorter than four-feet nine-inches tall.  So, we had some parents calling saying 'My child is 10-years-old but they're not four-feet nine, are they going to be required to be in a booster seat?'  In that type of case the answer is no."

The current law only requires a child to be in a safety seat if they're under five and under 36-inches tall, which Warren called one of the worst child safety seat laws in the country.
 

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...