OLR Bill Analysis

sHB-6956

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS.

SUMMARY

This bill strengthens motor vehicles child restraint system requirements for children. It increases the threshold age or weight at which a child must be placed in a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)-approved rear-facing child restraint from under age one or less than 20 pounds to under age two or less than 30 pounds. It increases, from six to seven, the maximum age at which children must be secured in certain types of child restraints, including booster seats, and requires that all child restraints be equipped with a five-point harness. It also prohibits people from placing a child in a rear-facing child restraint in the front seat of any vehicle with a functional air bag on the passenger side.

It subjects violators to the penalties under existing law.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Current law requires children under age one or weighing less than 20 pounds to be secured in a rear-facing child restraint. It requires children age six and younger or weighing less than 60 pounds to be secured in a DMV-approved child restraint. It requires children ages seven through 15 and weighing at least 60 pounds to either use such a restraint or wear a seat belt.

The bill increases the age and weight thresholds for the child restraint systems and requires that such restraints be equipped with a five-point harness. As under existing law, all child restraint systems must be DMV-approved. Table 1 below, shows child restraint requirements under the bill.

Table 1: Child Restraint Requirements under the Bill

Age and Weight

Restraint Requirements

Under age 2 or less than 30 pounds, regardless of age

Rear-facing child restraint

Ages 2 through 4 or weighing 30 through 39 pounds, regardless of age

Rear- or forward-facing child restraint

Ages 5 through 7 or weighing 40 through 59 pounds, regardless of age

Rear- or forward-facing child restraint or a booster seat secured by a seat belt. (As under current law, the booster seat must be secured by a lap-and-shoulder seat belt.)

Ages 8 through 15 and weighing 60 pounds or more

Child restraint or seat belt

PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS

The bill subjects violators to existing law's penalties. As under existing law, a first violation is an infraction and a second violation is punishable by a fine of up to $199. Each subsequent violation is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

The DMV commissioner must require anyone who commits a first or second violation to attend a DMV-approved child car seat safety course. The commissioner, after providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing, may suspend for up to two months the driver's license of a violator who fails to attend or successfully complete the course.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

35

Nay

0

(03/17/2017)