Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Car Safety

A friend from my moms group was telling the group about how her neighbor is only using a booster seat with a seat belt - not even a harness - for her 18 month old daughter. So, this sparked quite a bit of conversation about the current Florida Statutes governing child restraint requirements and safety belt laws.

So, I went in search of and found the current statutes to read them over. Some of it was better than expected, but some of it shocked the crap out of me. Under the law, every person in the vehicle must be restrained by either a child safety seat or a seat belt. However, this law does "not apply to ... a space within a truck body primarily intended for merchandise or property." WTF? You mean if I don't feel like strapping my kids in, I can just throw them in the back of my truck and it's all good? Wow!

Here's another shocker for you. Florida Statute 316.613 (3) states, "The failure to provide and use a child passenger restraint shall not be considered comparative negligence, nor shall such failure be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action with regard to negligence." Okay... So, putting your child's life at risk is not considered negligence? I wonder, then, what is considered negligence?

These laws definitely need to be reexamined and possibly made more specific. Maybe the neighbor thinks that using the booster seat is good enough under the law? It is "a crash-tested, federally approved restraint device" as required by law. However, in my opinion, it is not being "properly" used as required by law because it is not designed to be used by a child of that age and size. But, hey, at least she's not being "negligent," right?

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