Based on 2008 data, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates motor vehicle injuries as the number one cause of death in American children three to 14 years old. In Colorado, over half of the children who died in traffic accidents from 2006 to 2010 were either not in a child safety seat or seat belt or those devices were not used properly. In response, Colorado passed a new child passenger safety law.
As of August 1, 2011, all children under eight years of age in Colorado must be in a child safety seat while riding in a motor vehicle. Previously, only children four and five years old were required to ride in booster seats. The Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT) claims that children four to seven years old are 45 percent less likely to be injured in an accident while riding in a booster seat instead of a seat belt alone.
To give teeth to the new law, drivers failing to properly restrain children in age-appropriate safety seats will be fined at least $82. To help drivers ensure the proper equipment is being used and properly installed, fitting stations are set up at hospitals, police stations and local businesses. Moreover, the Colorado DOT has vowed to educate parents on how to comply with the new requirements.
Colorado's new child passenger safety law aims to protect the most vulnerable of passengers. Now that failure to comply carries a fine, those transporting children should take advantage of the resources available to ensure strict compliance with the new traffic law.