Senate Bill No. 37

(By Senators Rowe, Hunter and Oliverio)


[Introduced January 8, 2003; referred to the Committee on Transportation.]


A BILL to amend and reenact section forty-six, article fifteen, chapter seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to child passenger safety devices in automobiles; providing age and weight prescriptions under the section; and providing that children twelve years or younger shall be secured in the back seat.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section forty-six, article fifteen, chapter seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§17C-15-46. Child passenger safety device required.
(a) Every driver who transports a child under the age of nine years in a passenger automobile, van or pickup truck other than one operated for hire, shall, while such motor vehicle is in motion and operated on a street or highway of this state, provide for the protection of such the child by properly placing, maintaining and securing such the child in a child passenger safety device position system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. Provided, That if such child is between the age of three and eight both inclusive, a vehicle seat belt shall be sufficient to meet the requirements of this section
(1) For children three years of age and younger, or weighing less than forty pounds regardless of age, a child passenger seat restraint system must be used.
(2) For children four years old but younger than eighteen years of age, weighing forty pounds or more, a properly adjusted safety lap belt and harness may be used.
(3) All children twelve years old or younger shall be properly secured as provided above, in the rear seat of any motor vehicle equipped with a rear seat, unless all available rear seats are in use by other children.
(b) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than ten fifty dollars nor more than twenty two hundred dollars. The provisions of section one-a, article eleven-a and section three, article twelve, chapter sixty-two of this code do not apply to any person convicted of a violation of this section.
(c) A violation of this section shall may not be deemed considered by virtue of such the violation to constitute evidence of negligence or contributory negligence or comparative negligence in any civil action or proceeding for damages.
(d) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such the invalidity shall does not affect other provisions or applications of this section, and to this end the subsections of this section are declared to be severable.
If all seat belts in a vehicle are being used at the time of examination by a law officer and the vehicle contains more passengers than the total number of seat belts or other safety devices as installed in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards, the driver shall not be considered as violating this section.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to set forth specific age and weight prescriptions for child passengers in motor vehicles relative to mandatory restraint and safety procedures.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.