Effective July 1, 2011, all children passengers 8-years-old or younger must be placed in a suitable baby seat or booster seat and ride in the rear seat of the car. Drivers who do not follow this new Georgia law will face fines and points against their license, if cited by the police.
According to the Georgia Attorney General’s website:
- ALL children under the age of 8 whose height is less than 57 inches must ride in the backseat of a car. A child is safer in the back and farthest away from the force of an airbag. Remember that airbags are designed to save adults, and since they deploy with great force they can be fatal to children.
- Children under the age of 8 are required to be in either a car seat or a booster seat suitable for their age and height.
- If there is not a back seat in the vehicle (e.g., a truck) or if other restrained children are in the back seat, Georgia law permits a child under the age of 8 to sit in front if restrained in the proper car seat or booster and the child weighs at least 40 pounds.
- Georgia’s Primary Safety Belt Law allows law enforcement officers to issue a citation if they OBSERVE a seat belt offense. They do not need to stop the driver for another traffic violation first, as in some other states.
- Violating these laws can result in a fine of up to $50 and one point against your license per improperly restrained child. A second incident may double the fines and points.
Beyond the Law
Experts suggest several other tips to ensure your child’s safety while riding in a motor vehicle:
- Children under the age of 13 should ride in the backseat.
- Holding a child in your lap or placing a car seat in the front seat instead of the back could put your child’s life in serious danger.
- Avoid using a used child car seat or one that has been in an accident.
- Buckle up even on short trips around the corner. Most car accidents occur within a 5 mile radius of the home, according to a 2001 study by Progressive Insurance.
This is a great new law which helps protect children from being seriously injured or killed if they are involved in a Georgia accident. Normal seat belts do not adequately protect our children because they are designed for adults. While children who are taller than 4 feet 9 inches are exempt from the law, the better practice is to continue to use booster seats placed in the rear seats for all children.
Robert J. Fleming is a Georgia Accident lawyer who has handled many cases involving serious injuries to children. He has also been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and would like discuss your case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.