(SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI enjoys reading to children and advising them about safety issues for themselves, their families and friends. Her priorities include ensuring that parents understand the importance of booster seats for children younger than 8 and shorter than four feet, nine inches)
Courtesy Will Krueger,
(AUSTIN) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, reminded Texans that beginning June 1 (Tuesday) failure to secure a child in a booster seat will be a prosecutable offense. The change is a result of Senate Bill (SB) 61 (2009) by Senator Zaffirini, which requires that a child younger than 8 be secured in a child passenger safety seat, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inches.
“Each year more than 1,600 children die in vehicular accidents, which is the leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death among children 14 years and younger,” Senator Zaffirini said. “Research demonstrates overwhelmingly that booster seats save lives.” SB 61, which went into effect on Sept. 1, is expected to reduce by 59 percent children’s risk of serious head, spinal cord or internal organ injuries.
Law enforcement officers have been issuing warnings to violators since September, but beginning June 1, violations will result in a $25 fine for a first offense and up to $250 for subsequent violations.
“Drivers have additional responsibility when they are carrying our most precious cargo,” Senator Zaffirini said. “Fining violators will raise awareness and discourage unsafe habits. What’s more, the funds generated by the citations will help the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) provide booster seats to low-income families.
“It is my prayer that no child dies or is injured because he or she was not secured properly in a moving vehicle.”
Many local police and fire departments will check car seats free to ensure that they are installed properly. Additional information regarding booster seat requirements can be obtained via http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/public_information/carseat.htm .