New Georgia Car Seat Law on the Horizon
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death of children in Georgia between the ages of 2 - 14 years based on Georgia Health Department statistics.
A new law is currently making its way through the Georgia legislature that would strengthen vehicle restraint safety laws for children to help reduce the risk of children suffering catastrophic injury or wrongful death in Georgia automobile accidents and to improve the overall safety for children living in Georgia. The compassionate and dedicated team at Montlick and Associates know that few things are as devastating as having one’s child suffer a serious injury in an accident. We have helped many Georgia families through this type of tragedy. We are committed to providing the best possible legal services to our clients as part of our goal of being the best Atlanta auto accident attorneys in Georgia.
On March 3rd, 2011, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill that would increase the age requirement for children riding in a car seat from 6 years to 8 years. The current Georgia law, Title 40, Chapter 8, 76.1 requires children age 6 and younger to ride in a car seat. A child may be exempt from using a car seat under the current law if the child is taller than 4 ft. 9 in., or weighs over 40 lbs. The new legislation also would exempt children who meet these same height and weight requirements. The current law only pertains to children riding in a motor vehicle registered in Georgia and not to motor vehicles registered in other states just traveling in Georgia.
The current car seat law requiring children ages 6 years and younger to be secured in a car or booster seat went into effect in 2004, and was then called Madison's Law. It was named after a little girl whose life was spared by a car seat in a catastrophic automobile accident. Madison Harty survived when an SUV rammed into the side of her family's minivan and sheared off the side of the minivan where Madison was seated. Emergency responders credited the booster seat Madison was sitting in as saving the young girl’s life.
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) has reported children are three times more likely to be seriously injured in an automobile accident if they are not buckled into a car seat. Further, children who are ejected during a car crash are four times more likely to be killed by injuries sustained after the ejection, or by a vehicle rolling over them. The GOHS has recommended for some time that children between 6-8 be secured in a car seat to reduce the risk of vehicle ejections, catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
In the new bill, any licensed Georgia driver found in violation would receive a $50 fine for a first offense, and a $100 fine for a second offense. One important consideration with the new law is that existing car seats and booster seats fit the child properly. A shoulder strap does not fit a small person properly without using a booster seat. The lap belt should lie across the pelvis not the stomach where it fits against a child, and the shoulder strap should fit across the clavicle for the belt to be effective. By placing a child in a booster seat, the straps are placed for optimum support. The Georgia Health Department teaches Georgia's residents to secure their children in a booster seat up to 80 lbs., which is double the current requirement. Their reasoning for the increase in weight is because 70 percent of children under 8 years of age, are over the weight of 40 lbs. but are still too small for a proper fit in a seat belt without a booster seat.
The bill passed by a 129 to 43 vote, and is now in the Senate for review. Unfortunately, even the most effective safety laws cannot make our children completely safe in an Atlanta car accident. If you or your child has suffered serious injury or wrongful death in a car accident, the Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates will provide you with a no obligation free consultation, so we can discuss your legal rights and how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Our experienced Georgia car accident attorneys will seek the best possible outcome for you and your child who suffer serious injury or wrongful death caused by the negligent acts of others throughout Georgia. We diligently pursue our clients’ best interests as part of our ongoing goal of being known as the top personal injury law firm in Georgia. Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.