Gov. Scott Signs Legislation Increasing Child Safety in Motor Vehicles
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Bill 225 today, passing revisions to Florida Statute 316.613 requiring 4- and 5-year olds to be in a child restraint (with certain exceptions) effective January 1, 2015.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section 316.613, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
316.613 Child restraint requirements.
(1)(a) Every operator of a motor vehicle as defined in this section, while transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall, if the child is 5 years of age or younger, provide for protection of the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device.
1. For children aged through 3 years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer's integrated child seat.
2. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a child booster seat
belt may be used.
However, the requirement to use a child restraint device under this subparagraph does not apply when a safety belt is used as required in s. 316.614(4)(a) and the child:
a. Is being transported gratuitously by an operator who is not a member of the child's immediate family;
b. Is being transported in a medical emergency situation involving the child; or
c. Has a medical condition that necessitates an exception as evidenced by appropriate documentation from a health care professional.
(5) Any person who violates this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318 and shall have 3 points assessed against his or her driver license as set forth in s. 322.27. In lieu of the penalty specified in s. 318.18 and the assessment of points, a person who violates this section may elect, with the court's approval, to participate in a child restraint safety program approved by the chief judge of the circuit in which the violation occurs, and, upon completing such program, the penalty specified in chapter 318 and associated costs may be waived at the court's discretion and the assessment of points shall be waived. The child restraint safety program must use a course approved by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and the fee for the course must bear a reasonable relationship to the cost of providing the course.
Section 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2015.