Uncategorized

Is your child riding in your car properly? Could you face a fine?

No comments

Safety is the name of the game and preventing injuries in car accidents is the purpose. Many people know that their child should be in a car seat when they are young but do you know how long they are required to be in a car seat? How about how long they are supposed to be in a rear facing car seat? Did you know that you could be facing a $124 fine if you fail to have your child properly restrained? Did you know that this fine follows you the parent, until the child is 16 years old?

The reason behind using a car seat or booster seat and when to graduate your child is to keep our children safe in car accidents. A normal seat belt will not protect a child that is too small to actually realize the safety benefit of the seat belt, like full grown adults can. The reason is that seat belts are positioned with restraints for an adult and are not adjustable for a small child. The child could fall through the straps if there is a car accident and be severely injured.

Washington’s Child Passenger Restraint Law (RCW 46.61.687) requires:

  • Children under age 8, unless they are 4’9″ tall, must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system (car seat or booster seat).
  • Children 8 years old or at least 4’9″ tall who wear a seat belt MUST use it correctly (never under the arm or behind the back) or continue to use a child restraint.
    Children less than 13 years old are to be transported in the back seat, where it is practical to do so.
  • Child restraint system must be used correctly according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer’s instructions. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for both the child restraint and the vehicle.

Violation of this section could be subject to a $124 fine. However, this is a “fix it ticket.” Meaning, if your child should have been in a car seat but was not, you can have your ticket dismissed if you show proof of purchase of a car seat within 7 days of the notice of the ticket.

Car Seat, Booster Seat, or Back Seat?

There are four kinds of graduated seating that you should think of: Rear facing children seats, forward facing car seat with restraining straps, a booster seat, and a seat belt. Do you know when your child should start using each?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following car and booster seat guidelines:

1.Under two years old or reach max height or weight by manufacturer – Keep infants and toddlers in rear-facing car seats.

2. Children age 2 or older who have outgrown rear facing seat – should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat

3. All children who have outgrown the forward-facing car seat – should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap-and-should seat belt fits properly, typically when they reach 4’9″ tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

4. All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection. When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap-and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection.

Be careful not to graduate your child to the next seat too soon. Keep your child in the current seat for as long as possible (according to the seat manufacturer’s height and weight requirements), to maximize safety.

Andrew CherinIs your child riding in your car properly? Could you face a fine?
Read more

Washington State Cell Phone Law Update

No comments

I have talked about this before and finally the Washington State legislature has finally done something about it. Starting July 23, 2017, it will be illegal to use any handheld device except for a couple narrow situations. Distracted driving is increasingly becoming the leading cause of death from car accidents around the United States. Lax driving laws and enforcement has been one of the main problems for the proliferation of distracted driving and cell phone usage.

What’s the law right now and why was it not strict enough?

Right now it is already illegal to text while driving but that is narrowly limited to texting while driving and not using Facebook, searching the internet, or inputting GPS while the phone is in your hand. Also it doesn’t restrict usage while stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.

What will be banned?

The new bill forbids handheld uses, including composing or reading any kind of message, picture or data. Photography while driving is illegal. Drivers also cannot use handheld devices while at a stop sign or red-light signal.

What is still legal?

Drivers may still use a cellphone mounted in a dashboard cradle, for instance to use a navigation app, but not to watch video. The new law permits “minimal use of a finger” to activate an app or device. Built-in electronic systems, such as hands-free calling and maps, remain legal.

Calls to 911 or other emergency services are legal, as are urgent calls between transit employees and dispatchers. Amateur radio equipment and citizens-band radio, remain legal.

Handheld devices may be used if the driver has pulled off the roadway or traffic lanes, where the vehicle “can safely remain stationary.”

What are the penalties?

The first offense will carry a $136 and would nearly double to $235 on the second distracted-driving citation. A police officer can pull someone over just for using a handheld device, which is a primary offense and not secondary to speeding or another violation.

Will a ticket raise my insurance rates?

The offense is considered a moving offense that insurance companies will penalize you for.

 

What about other kinds of distraction?

Miscellaneous distractions such as grooming or eating will be a secondary offense, meaning a ticket may be issued if a law-enforcement officer pulls you over for some other offense, such as speeding or a dangerous lane change. The penalty will be an extra $30.

 

Andrew CherinWashington State Cell Phone Law Update
Read more