Entries in NHTSA (2)


California Mandates Car Seats for Kids Up to 8 Years Old

Creatas/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- California is the latest state to tell 6 and 7-year-olds to get back into their car seats.

A new measure that kicks in Jan. 1 will mandate car seats for children until they are 8, or 4 feet 9 inches tall. Under current law in the state, kids must be in car seats until they are 6 or 60 pounds.

The measure -- signed by Gov. Jerry Brown after similar bills were previously vetoed twice by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger --  moves closer to guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The penalty for violating the new law will be a minimum of $479 for a first offense, according to a spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The NHTSA recommends booster seats for 8 to 12-year-olds, or until the child can fit properly into a regular seat belt, with the lap belt across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt across the chest, not the neck.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends a booster until the seat belt fits as it should -- usually between ages 8 and 12.

States that now mandate car seats up to age 8 include Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Washington.

Kristy Arbogast, engineering director at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said 8 is the earliest that a child should give up a booster seat.

"We really have no doubt this was the right thing to do," she said, citing research at Children's Hospital in 2009 that showed a 45 percent reduction in risk when children were in booster seats between the ages of 4 and 8.

"It's all about seat-belt fit," said Arbogast. When the belt hits the neck, she said, kids will often slip out of the shoulder belt and put it behind their back -- leaving them at risk of skull fractures and brain injuries in a crash.

As a parent, she sympathizes with California moms and dads who will have to tell their 6 and 7-year-olds to start sitting in a booster seat. "It's going to be tough," she said, but suggested parents should tell kids: "It's not mommy and daddy's decision, it's the law, it's the police."

A good technique, she said, is to keep younger children in high-back booster seats as long as possible, then transition to backless boosters for older kids. They have a big plus from kids' point of view: you can't tell from outside the car that the child's sitting in a booster seat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Links Drug Use to Traffic Deaths

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A new study shows an increased link between fatal car accidents and drug use, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The NHTSA study showed that drug use reported by states among fatally injured drivers rose from 13 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2008.

The study included drivers who were tested for illicit drugs, legally prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medicines after their death. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, however, pointed out that drug testing of fatally injured drivers is often not conducted.

The study noted that a positive test for drug use did not mean that the driver crashed as a result of the drug use.
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio