New Child Passenger Restraint Law
New Child Passenger Restraint Law To Take Effect August 28, 2006
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt signed Senate Bill 872 into Law on Wednesday, June 28, 2006
CHILD PASSENGER RESTRAINT LAW - This act modifies the law with respect how motorist must restrain children in motor vehicles.
This act modifies the law with respect to the use of child passenger safety restraint systems and booster seats. The act requires children of certain ages, weights and heights to be restrained by either a child passenger restraint system, booster seat or safety belt.
AGE/WEIGHT/HEIGHT CLASSIFICATION -
1. LESS THAN 4 YEARS OLD - This act requires children less than four years old, regardless of weight, to use an appropriate child passenger restraint system.
2. LESS THAN 40 POUNDS - The act requires children weighing less than 40 pounds, regardless of age, to be secured in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for the child.
3. LESS THAN 8 YEARS OLD/80 POUNDS OR UNDER 4'9" - Children (ages 4-7) and who weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds, and are less than 4'9" tall must be secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat appropriate for that child.
4. GREATER THAN 80 POUNDS OR TALLER THAN 4'9" - Children who are at least 80 pounds or children taller than 4'9" shall be secured by a vehicle safety belt or booster seat appropriate for that child.
The act allows a child to be transported in back seat without a booster seat if the child is secured with a lap belt if the vehicle is not equipped with combination lap and shoulder belt for booster seat installation.
The act also provides that when transporting children in the immediate family when there are more children than there are seating positions in the enclosed area of a motor vehicle, the children who are not able to be restrained by a child safety restraint device appropriate for the child shall sit in the area behind the front seat of the motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is designed only for a front seat area. The driver transporting children under this scenario shall not be in violation of the child seat restriction law.
A violation of the child passenger restraint/booster provisions is an infraction and the fine is $50 plus court costs. The fine for violating the safety belt provision of the act is $10. Charges for violating the child passenger restraint and booster seat provisions shall be dismissed or withdrawn if the driver provides evidence that he or she acquired a child passenger restraint system or booster seat prior to or at his or her hearing. The act does not apply to public carriers for hire or to students four years of age or older who are passengers on a school bus designed for carrying eleven passengers or more and which is manufactured or equipped pursuant to Missouri Minimum Standards for School Buses (Sections 307.178 and 307.179).
The act provides that if there are more persons than there are seat belts in the enclosed area of a motor vehicle, then the passengers who are unable to wear seat belts shall sit in the area behind the front seat unless the vehicle is designed only for a front-seated area. This provision does not apply to passengers who are accompanying an intermediate driver’s license holder. Under current law, all passengers accompanying a intermediate driver's license holder must be properly restrained. (Subsection 7 of Section 307.178). The act provides that the $10 fine for failing to wear a seat belt shall apply to “persons” rather than just “drivers” (section 307.178.5).
The child seat provisions of the act are substantially similar to HB 1165 (2006), SS/SCS/HCS/HB 518 (2005), SCS/SB 221 et al (2005), SB 710 (2004), SB 9 (2003), SB 647 (2002) and SB 549 (2001).