During the 2011 state legislative session, Children’s successfully advocated for an increase in the state required age for a child to be restrained in a booster seat when riding in a motor vehicle. On May 9, 2011, Governor Nathan Deal signed the legislation at Scottish Rite.
Effective July 1, 2011, all children under 8 years old must be properly secured in an approved car seat or booster seat while riding in a car, van, SUV or pickup truck.
This new law, which was sponsored by Representative Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) and Senator Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), will align Georgia with the national guidelines set forth by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and ensure that Georgia’s 6 and 7 year olds are not put into a seat only too soon.
New law details
The car seat or booster seat must:
- Be in the rear seat
- Be appropriate for the child’s weight and height
- Meet all US federal standards
- Be installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Children under age 8 whose height is over 4 feet 9 inches or 57 inches
- Parent or Guardian has a written statement from a physician that the child has a physical or medical condition that prevents placing or restraining them as required by law
A child under 8 years of age and weighing at least 40 pounds is not exempt from the law. They may use a lap belt only instead of a booster seat when:
- The vehicle is not equipped with lap and shoulder seat belts; or
- Excluding the driver’s seat, all seating positions with lap and shoulder belts are being used to restrain other children. In this case, the placement of car seats and boosters seats should be evaluated to determine if they can be repositioned to provide the best protection for all children being transported
A child under 8 years of age may only be in the front seat, properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster when:
- The vehicle has no rear seating position appropriate for correctly restraining a child.
- All appropriate rear seating positions are occupied by other children.
- Note: A rear-facing car seat should never be placed in the front passenger seat of any vehicle with an active air bag.
The following fines apply:
- 1st Conviction – not more than $50
- 2nd and subsequent convictions – not more than $100
Points assessed against violator’s drivers license:
- 1st Conviction – 1 point
- 2nd and subsequent convictions – 2 points