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July 21, 2020 | Laws
The number one priority of anybody who has a child in their car is keeping the child safe at all times. Doing so requires that adult drivers have a thorough understanding of the car seat laws in West Virginia.
Car seats are proven to keep children safe in the event an accident occurs, but understanding the requirements can be complicated. According to the CDC, a car seat can reduce the risk of an injury to children by 71-82% when compared to seat belt use alone. Further, booster seats reduce the risk of serious injury in children aged 4-8 by 45%.
The law is very specific when it comes to requirements about car seats and children. Currently, any child under the age of eight in West Virginia, and children who are under 4 feet 9 inches tall, must be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat. This requirement includes booster seats.
A child who has reached the age of eight, or a child under the age of eight who has reached 4 feet 9 inches tall, is allowed to use a seat belt.
In West Virginia, the child safety seat laws are considered primary enforcement laws, meaning that a law enforcement officer can pull a person over if they suspect that a child is not properly restrained in the vehicle.
It is important that adults properly install car seats in their vehicles. Failing to do so could result in the car seat not working properly in the event an accident occurs, leading to serious injuries to a child. Importantly, you must follow the instructions provided by the car seat manufacturer when installing the safety seat.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) receives federal funding that provides training, education materials, and other program needs to help ensure that there are certified instructors and technicians across the state of West Virginia that are trained to install car seats properly.
In West Virginia, all GHSP regional coordinators or properly certified and have a list of technicians that can assist you with ensuring that your child safety seat is installed properly. These technicians will also be able to inspect the safety seat for defects, proper installation, proper use, as well as any recalls of that seat.
The minimum fine for a first offense of a child safety seat law is $10. The maximum fine for a child safety violation in West Virginia is $25. The state of West Virginia recognizes the importance of adults ensuring that children are properly fastened inside a vehicle.
In the event a car crash occurs, an improperly fastened child can sustain severe injuries, including broken and dislocated bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage or bleeding, and more. The good news is that it takes minimal effort to ensure that a child safety seat is properly installed. This minimal effort can have a tremendous impact on child safety.
If a loved one was injured due to the negligence of another in a car collision, speak with a car accident lawyer from our firm today. We can help during a free consultation. Contact us by phone or online.