Law requires child restraintsPublished 5:36pm Friday, July 26, 2013
Lawmakers saw a need as early as 1975 to institute specific guidelines for restraining children in motor vehicles. Section 32-5-222 of the Code of Alabama laws has been revised since then to reflect the changes in traffic patterns and technology available for the safety of children.
That law, officials say, is in place to prevent serious injury and death to young passengers.
Sgt. Steve Jarrett, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Public Saftey, said using restraints in a vehicle is more than just a good idea.
“In Alabama, buckling up is not only a suggestion — it is the law,” Jarrett said. “Drivers must ensure all occupants of motor vehicles whoa re younger than 15 use seat belts and child restraint systems that meet applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.”
On Monday, 13-year-old Nicholas Robinson was killed in a vehicle crash on County Road 55 (Travis Road). The teen was riding – unrestrained – in the bed of a pickup truck when the crash occurred. He died as a result of the injuries sustained in that crash.
Escambia County Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said Alabama law may not specifically prohibit anyone from riding in the open bed of a pickup truck, but it does require restraints — something not typically found in a truck bed.
“There is no law that says you can’t ride in the back of a truck,” Lambert said. “But you do have to be restrained if you’re under 15. Since I don’t know of any truck company that puts seatbelts in the back of a truck, I’d say riding back there is against the law in that respect.”
Anasia Brazile, 11, was also in the back of the truck with Robinson when the crash occurred. The young girl was transported by Lifeflight to Sacred Heart Hospital where she remains in critical condition as of press time Friday.
The law, as outlined in Section 32-5-222 of the Code of Alabama of 1975, says, in part that “every person transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall provide for the protection of the child by properly using an aftermarket or integrated child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards and the requirements of subsection B.”
Subsection B of the law gives specifics on how children must be restrained in size appropriate systems and must meet certain requirements. Those requirements include: “Infant only seats and convertible seats used in the rear facing position for infants until at least one year of age or 20 pounds; (2) Convertible seats in the forward position or forward facing seats until the child is at least five years of age or 40 pounds; (3) Booster seats until the child is six years of age; and (4) Seat belts until 15 years of age.”
At least one amendment was made to the law in 2011 to require that infant only seats and convertible seats be used in the rear facing position for infants until at least one year of age and 20 pounds.