As the 2012 state Legislative gets under way, AAA hopes that legislators will take an important step in protecting Arizona children. HB 2154 aims to do just that, providing a long overdue update to Arizona's outdated child passenger law.

Sponsored by Rep. Nancy McLain, HB 2154 would require children under 8 years of age that are not taller than 4 feet, 9 inches, to be properly secured in a child restraint system, such as a booster seat, since the use of an adult safety belt alone will not properly protect them in the event of a crash.

Under Arizona's current child passenger law, parents and caregivers are able to transition children from a car seat to an adult safety belt at the age of 5, making the state one of only three in the country without a law that properly protects older child occupants.

In addition, state law also mandates that passengers under the age of 16 must be properly secured in a safety belt.

Unfortunately, without the use of a booster seat, this requirement poses additional health risks to older child occupants who are too big for a traditional child car seat, but too small to be properly protected by an adult safety belt alone.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the proper use of a safety seat can reduce a child's fatality risk by up to 71 percent. In addition, in 2010, all of the 5 to 8 year olds who died due to car crashes were not properly restrained.

HB 2154 has been assigned to the House Transportation Committee. AAA will track the progress of HB 2154 and other transportation bills being considered during the 2012 Arizona legislature at

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