Child Car Seat Safety Proposal May Alter Rules

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that an amendment to the 2014 federal motor-vehicle safety standards would require children to be secured by both a seat belt and top tether. Currently, children are required to be secured by lower anchors and tethers.

The new rules would apply only if the combined weight of the car seat and child exceeds 65 pounds. The older rule, known as “Anton’s Law,” was mandated in 2002, and required all vehicles manufactured after that year to have anchor point so car seats could be secured that way rather than with seat belts. In 2002, however, car seats had much lower weight capacities and children were only required to use them until they outgrew them, or reached a certain age, depending on the state.

Now, many car seats are made to accommodate children of 90 pounds or more, and many safety advocates are concerned that the anchor points are inadequate. Advocates are also asking Congress to require car seat manufacturers to mark their products with a maximum child weight capacity.

Laws regarding car seat requirements vary from state-to-state; in Wyoming and Tennessee, for example, children are required to be in a car seat or booster until age eight. In Florida, the requirement is age three. Should the federal amendments pass, they would take effect in 2014 and apply to all U.S. states and territories.

On the other side of the issue, the organization that represents car seat manufacturers, The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, stated that it thinks the proposed amendments would only cause confusion. It thinks a more effective change would be to increase the allowable weight for anchor points. To drive its point home, the Association pointed to a 2012 study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Institute which tested parents on their ability to properly install a car seat adhering to all federal requirements. Just 13% of parents were able to install it properly.

The last major law change occurred in 2011, when the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommended that children remain in rear-facing car seats until they were older. These new regulations may prove beneficial in states like Illinois that recently upped the speed limits on interstates.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation that increased the state’s interstate speed from 65 to 70. Considering most drivers go five to ten miles per hour faster than the posted speed limit no matter what, many are speculating that the speed increase will make Illinois interstates even more dangerous.

The law will take effect on January 1, 2014, and there is talk about the possibility of upping the speed limit in the Chicago area as well, to 60 miles per hour. Both the Illinois State Police and Department of Transportation opposed the change, arguing that studies prove that higher speeds increase the severity and frequency of crashes.

More than 35 other states already have interstate speeds of 70 miles per hour or higher, however, and Quinn is gearing up for a tough election in 2014. Illinois has the fifth busiest interstate highway system, so it will be interesting to see how the increased speed plays out. Seven people were recently killed on I-65 near Roselawn, Indiana, when a car was crushed between two large trucks in a construction zone. The trucks had to abruptly stop, and all people in the car were killed.

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm encourage anyone seriously injured in a crash caused by the negligence of another to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to significant compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and emotional distress.

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