New rules for the road

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - There are new laws on the road. Starting June 1, 2010, you can get a ticket if your child is not in a booster seat. There has been a grace period of nearly a year. But, several state traffic laws are now in effect. That includes all passengers wearing a seat belt and more children required to be in safety or booster seats.

Mother of seven, Robin Wilson, has a six-year-old who thought he had outgrown his booster seat.

"I had taken him out of the booster because he was large enough and now he's got to go back in and he's not real happy about it," said Wilson.

That is because his age and height do not meet new state guidelines. Kids younger than eight who are shorter than 4'9" must ride in a safety or booster seat. Traffic safety officials say research proves seatbelts are not made for bodies smaller than this.

Breaking the new law can come with hefty consequences. Police say a first offense will cost you $25. After that, fines go up to $250, and that could be on top of other tickets.

"If anyone is stopped for red light citations, stop sign citations, kids standing in the seat versus being in the seat belt or booster seat, then we'll certainly stop them and take action," said Officer Don Martin, with the Tyler Police Department.

The number one killer for children under seven are car crashes, according to National Traffic officials. Trooper Jeanne Dark says the goal of this new law is to reduce that rate and cut down on severe injuries caused by seat belts.

"Generally the shoulder strap does not fit them properly and so they'll put it up under their arm or they'll stick it behind their back, which completely defeats the purpose of having that shoulder strap there in the first place," explained Trooper Dark. "And then the lap portion, if it's not right over the tops of their hips, it's generally going to be in their belly area and so then you will also see a lot of soft tissue abdominal injuries."

Wilson thinks it should be left up to parents to decide.

"I make sure my kids are safe," said Wilson. "I feel like sometimes the government is just looking for things to regulate."

Nevertheless, state lawmakers saw a need. So click it or ticket and boost it or lose it.

This will also be a big change for day care centers and churches because the law also effects vehicles that can hold up to 15 people like passenger vans.

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