The Johnson County Sheriff's Office joins a number of other law enforcement agencies commemorating National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 16-22, 2012). The primary goal of this program is to remind all parents and other adults responsible for children traveling in motor vehicles of the importance of child safety seats and seat belts. Last year, 12 children under the age of eight were killed in traffic crashes, and another 1,764 were injured. Highway Patrol Troopers issued citations to 1,878 drivers who failed to secure children less than eight years old in a child restraint/booster seat. Citations were issued to an additional 832 drivers who failed to secure a child 80 pounds or more or over 4’9” in a seat belt in 2011.
Missouri law states:
* Children less than four years old are required to use an appropriate child passenger restraint system.
* Children less than 40 pounds, regardless of age, must be secured in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for the child.
* Children ages four to eight years old who weigh at least 40 pounds, but less than 80 pounds, and are under 4’9” tall, must be secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat appropriate for that child.
* Children ages eight through 15 must wear seat belts regardless of the type of vehicle in which they are riding or where they are seated (front or back). Like the child restraint law, this is a primary law, meaning you can be pulled over by law enforcement for noncompliance.
* Persons less than 18 years of age operating or riding in trucks (regardless of gross weight for which licensed) must wear seat belts.
*No person under age 18 is allowed to ride in the unenclosed bed of a truck with a licensed gross weight of less than 12,000 pounds on lettered highways, federal, state maintained highways, and within city limits. There are exemptions for agricultural purposes, special events, and parades.
* It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure passengers under the age of 16 are buckled up safely. Those 16 and over are responsible for themselves.