New child restraint law takes effect

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Motorists around the state of Alabama will soon have to be more careful about how they transport their children on the highways.

Effective Saturday, July 1, new laws requiring that all children through the age of 14 be restrained while riding in any type of motor vehicle will be enforced.

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Laws will be more specific as to the types of restraints children will have to be placed in, according to Sgt. Doug Stewart, head of the Selma Police Department Traffic Division.

According to a press release from the department, one of the new requirements is that infant seats and convertible seats are to be used in the rear-facing position until the child is at least 1 year old or weighs 20 pounds.

Also, convertible seats in the forward-facing position are to be used until the child is five years old or weighs 40 pounds.

Finally, booster seats are required until the child is six year old.

Stewart said drivers will now have points assessed to their driving records for violations of the laws.

Only fines were enforced prior to the recent amendments.

In addition, a new law will be effective Saturday requiring motorists to change lanes when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle on a four-lane highway.

Selma Police Chief Jimmy Martin said additional patrol units will be out for the July 4 holiday focusing on those driving under the influence.

Stewart added that parents should make sure seat belts properly fit children who are old enough to wear them.

Devices can be purchased that make ill-fitting shoulder belts run properly across a child’s chest.

Both Martin and Stewart wished all citizens a safe and happy holiday.