Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 424

    January Session, 2017

Substitute House Bill No. 6956

House of Representatives, April 5, 2017

The Committee on Transportation reported through REP. GUERRERA of the 29th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsections (c) and (d) of section 14-100a of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(c) (1) The operator of and any front seat passenger in any motor vehicle or fire fighting apparatus originally equipped with seat safety belts complying with the provisions of 49 CFR 571.209, as amended from time to time, shall wear such seat safety belt while the vehicle is being operated on any highway, except as follows:

(A) A child [six] under eight years of age [and under] shall be restrained as provided in subsection (d) of this section;

(B) The operator of such vehicle shall secure or cause to be secured in a seat safety belt any passenger [seven] eight years of age or older and under sixteen years of age; and

(C) If the operator of such vehicle is under eighteen years of age, such operator and each passenger in such vehicle shall wear such seat safety belt while the vehicle is being operated on any highway.

(2) The provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply to (A) any person whose physical disability or impairment would prevent restraint in such safety belt, provided such person obtains a written statement from a licensed physician or a licensed advanced practice registered nurse containing reasons for such person's inability to wear such safety belt and including information concerning the nature and extent of such condition. Such person shall carry the statement on his or her person or in the motor vehicle at all times when it is being operated, or (B) an authorized emergency vehicle, other than fire fighting apparatus, responding to an emergency call or a motor vehicle operated by a rural letter carrier of the United States postal service while performing his or her official duties or by a person engaged in the delivery of newspapers.

(3) Failure to wear a seat safety belt shall not be considered as contributory negligence nor shall such failure be admissible evidence in any civil action.

(4) Any operator of a motor vehicle, who is eighteen years of age or older, and any passenger in such motor vehicle, who violates any provision of this subsection shall have committed an infraction and shall be fined fifty dollars. Any operator of a motor vehicle who is under eighteen years of age and any passenger in such motor vehicle who violates any provision of this subsection shall have committed an infraction and shall be fined seventy-five dollars. Points may not be assessed against the operator's license of any person convicted of such violation.

[(d) (1) Any person who transports a child six years of age and under or weighing less than sixty pounds, in a motor vehicle on the highways of this state shall provide and require the child to use a child restraint system approved pursuant to regulations adopted by the Department of Motor Vehicles in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. Any person who transports a child seven years of age or older and weighing sixty or more pounds, in a motor vehicle on the highways of this state shall either provide and require the child to use an approved child restraint system or require the child to use a seat safety belt. As used in this subsection, "motor vehicle" does not mean a bus having a tonnage rating of one ton or more. Failure to use a child restraint system shall not be considered as contributory negligence nor shall such failure be admissible evidence in any civil action.]

[(2)] (d) (1) (A) Any person who transports a child under [one year] two years of age or weighing less than [twenty] thirty pounds in a motor vehicle on the highways of this state shall provide and require the child to ride rear-facing in a child restraint system equipped with a five-point harness approved pursuant to regulations that the Department of Motor Vehicles shall adopt in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

(B) Any person who transports a child under five years of age, but not under two years of age, or weighing less than forty pounds, but not less than thirty pounds, in a motor vehicle on the highways of this state shall provide and require the child to ride rear-facing or forward-facing in a child restraint system equipped with a five-point harness approved pursuant to regulations adopted by the Department of Motor Vehicles in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

(C) Any person who transports a child under eight years of age, but not under five years of age, or weighing less than sixty pounds, but not less than forty pounds, in a motor vehicle on the highways of this state shall provide and require the child to ride rear-facing or forward-facing in a child restraint system equipped with a five-point harness or a booster seat secured by a seat safety belt approved pursuant to regulations adopted by the Department of Motor Vehicles in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

(D) No person shall transport a child in a motor vehicle on the highways of this state in a rear-facing child restraint system in the front seat of any motor vehicle that is equipped with a functional air bag on the passenger side of such motor vehicle.

(2) Any person who transports a child eight years of age or older and weighing sixty or more pounds in a motor vehicle on the highways of this state shall either provide and require the child to use an approved child restraint system or require the child to use a seat safety belt. As used in this subsection, "motor vehicle" does not mean a bus having a tonnage rating of one ton or more. Failure to use a child restraint system shall not be considered as contributory negligence nor shall such failure be admissible evidence in any civil action.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, any person who transports a child four years of age or older in a student transportation vehicle, as defined in section 14-212, on the highways of this state shall either provide and require the child to use an approved child restraint system or require the child to use a seat safety belt. Any person who transports a child under four years of age weighing less than forty pounds in a student transportation vehicle on the highways of this state shall provide and require the child to use a child restraint system approved pursuant to regulations adopted by the Department of Motor Vehicles in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

(4) No person shall restrain a child in a booster seat unless the motor vehicle is equipped with a safety seat belt that includes a shoulder belt and otherwise meets the requirement of subsection (b) of this section.

(5) Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this subsection shall, for a first violation, have committed an infraction; for a second violation, be fined not more than one hundred ninety-nine dollars; and, for a third or subsequent violation, be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. The commissioner shall require any person who has committed a first or second violation of the provisions of this subsection to attend a child car seat safety course offered or approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The commissioner may, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, suspend for a period of not more than two months the motor vehicle operator's license of any person who fails to attend or successfully complete the course.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2017

14-100a(c) and (d)

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Subsec. (c)(1)(A), "seven" was changed to "under eight" and "and under" was bracketed for consistency.

TRA

Joint Favorable Subst. -LCO

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 18 $

FY 19 $

Resources of the General Fund

GF - Potential Revenue Gain

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill expands the age and weight requirements of child restraint laws and result in potential revenue gain from increased violations and fines. While it is unknown how many additional violations will occur as a result of this bill, in FY 16, there were 15,740 violations under current law that resulted in revenue of $1.4 million.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to the number of violations.

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)

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