Using Restraint: Safety Belts/Child Restraints
We all know that the law requires that you use your safety belt. Safety belts can reduce injuries and deaths. Many studies and actual crash tests have proven this. The recommended method for pregnant women to wear lap and shoulder belts is as follows: Wear the lap belt as low as possible under the abdomen and wear the shoulder strap across the chest and to the side of the abdomen. Recently passed, House Bill 537 requires you and your passengers no matter their age or where they are seated in the vehicle to be secured by a safety belt.
Texas law requires all children younger than 8 years of age be restrained in an approved child passenger safety seat unless the child is at least 4 feet, 9 inches in height. The fine is no more than $25 for a first offense and $250 for a second offense. However, these are only the minimum requirements. For maximum safety, children should be secured in child safety seats or booster seats according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the child can properly fit the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt systems. Starting at the age of 15, a person commits an offense if they occupy a seat in a passenger vehicle that is equipped with a safety belt, however is not secured by a safety belt. If you do not wear your safety belt, you and/or your passenger will be given a ticket. A safety belt violation can result in fines ranging from $25 to $200, plus court costs.
If you wear only a lap belt when driving, your chances of living through a collision are twice as good as the chances of someone who doesn’t wear a lap belt. If you wear a lap and a shoulder belt, your chances are three to four times better. You must wear both your lap and shoulder belt if the vehicle is equipped with both, even if the vehicle is equipped with air bags. Please remember to play it safe and buckle up!