CHILD SAFETY RESTRAINT SYSTEMS
House Bill 4600 (proposed substitute H-2)
Sponsor: Rep. Julie Alexander
House Bill 5274 as introduced
Sponsor: Rep. Cara Clemente
Complete to 2-24-20
House Bills 4600 and 5274 would amend the Michigan Vehicle Code to revise the requirements for child safety restraint systems (car seats and booster seats).
Currently under sections 710d and 710e of the code, a driver transporting a child who is under 4 years old must properly secure that child in a child restraint system that meets federal standards. The child must be positioned in a rear seat, if the vehicle has a rear seat. A child in a rear-facing child restraint system may be placed in the front seat only if the front passenger air bag is deactivated. In addition, a child who is 4 to 7 years old and who is less than four feet nine inches tall must also be properly secured in a child restraint system.
House Bill 4600 would amend the above to apply to children who are 12 years old and younger. Specifically, the bill would require a driver transporting a child to properly secure that child in a child restraint system that meets federal standards. The child would have to be positioned in the child restraint system in a rear seat, if the vehicle had a rear seat and not all the rear seats were taken by children. A child in a rear-facing child restraint system could be placed in the front seat only if the front passenger air bag were deactivated. A child would have to be seated and positioned in a child restraint system as follows:
· Restrained in a rear-facing child seat until the child met both of the following:
o Was at least 2 years old.
o Reached the weight or height limit of the rear-facing child restraint system set by the manufacturer.
· After meeting the above requirements, restrained in a forward-facing child restraint system with an internal harness until the child met both of the following:
o Was at least 5 years old.
o Reached the weight or height limit of the forward-facing child restraint system set by the manufacturer.
· After meeting the above requirements, restrained in a belt-positioning child booster seat secured with a lap-shoulder safety belt until the child met both of the following:
o Was at least 8 years old.
o Was at least four feet nine inches tall.
A child secured in a restraint system would have to be secured in one that was appropriate for the child’s weight and height and configured according to the child restraint manufacturer’s instructions and the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions and the standards prescribed by 49 CFR 571.213.
A child who was at least 8 years old and at least four feet nine inches tall, but who was under 13 years old, would have to be restrained with a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt. He or she would have to be positioned in a rear seat, if the vehicle had a rear seat and not all the rear seats were taken by children. He or she could be restrained in a belt-positioning child booster seat, as described above, until he or she reached the weight or height limit set by the seat’s manufacturer.
Current law requires a driver transporting a child under 16 who does not have to ride in a car seat or booster seat (i.e., he or she is at least four foot nine at least 8 years old) to secure the child in a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt. Under House Bill 4600, this requirement would apply to a child who was at least 13 but under 16 years old.
House Bill 4600 would also eliminate a requirement that the Secretary of State engage an independent organization to conduct a study to determine the effect of the primary enforcement of the seat belt law on the number of incidents of police harassment of motor vehicle operators. This requirement was added in 1999, when the seat belt law was made subject to primary enforcement, and required a report to be made to the Legislature by June 30, 2001, and annually thereafter. The bill would revise related provisions to refer to “inappropriate enforcement” of the seat belt law, rather than “police harassment.”
MCL 257.710d and 257.710e
House Bill 5274 would amend section 907 of the Vehicle Code, which allows the court to waive any civil fine, cost, or assessment against a person who received a civil infraction citation for violation of the child restraint system requirements if he or she provides evidence of acquiring, purchasing, or renting a child restraint system meeting those requirements before the appearance date on the citation.
Under the bill, the person would also have to provide evidence that he or she received education from a certified child passenger safety technician. The bill would also remove evidence of purchase or rental from the provision described above.
Each bill would take effect 180 days after its enactment. The bills are tie-barred to one another, which means that neither could take effect unless both were enacted.
House Bills 4600 and 5274 would not have a direct fiscal impact on the Michigan State Police or state government. There could be potential implementation costs associated with raising public awareness of the changes in law regarding child safety seats through mailings, social media, or other media; however, there is no such requirement to do so in the bill. A previous version of the bill would likely have utilized funds available to the Office of Highway Safety Planning, within the Michigan State Police, for this purpose.
The bills would not have a fiscal impact on local law enforcement.
The bills would have an indeterminate fiscal impact on public and county law libraries. The fiscal impact would depend on the number of civil fines that are waived. A civil fine ordered under section 907 of the Michigan Vehicle Code is required under section 909 to be exclusively applied to the support of public and county law libraries. A decrease in the amount of fines ordered would mean a decrease in the amount of funding made available for libraries.
Fiscal Analysts: Michael Cnossen
■ This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency staff for use by House members in their deliberations, and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.
 For a description of car seat types, see: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats