HB 2154 Aims to Protect Arizona's Most Precious Cargo

Phoenix, Ariz. Jan. 19, 2012. As the 2012 state legislative gets underway, AAA hopes that legislators will take an important step in protecting Arizona children. HB 2154 aims to do just that, providing a long overdue update to Arizona’s outdated child passenger law.

Sponsored by Representative Nancy McLain (R),HB 2154 would require children under 8 years of age that are not taller than 4’9” to be properly secured in a child restraint system, such as a booster seat, since the use of an adult safety belt alone will not properly protect them in the event of a crash.

Under Arizona’s current child passenger law, parents and caregivers are able to transition children from a car seat to an adult safety belt at the age of 5, making the state one of only three in the country without a law that properly protects older child occupants. In addition, state law also mandates that passengers under the age of 16 must be properly secured in a safety belt. Unfortunately, without the use of a booster seat, this requirement poses additional health risks to older child occupants who are too big for a traditional child car seat, but too small to be properly protected by an adult safety belt alone.

“Unfortunately, by complying with Arizona’s current child passenger law, parents and caregivers are unknowingly jeopardizing their child’s safety,” said Linda Gorman, communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. “The update to this law is much needed and long overdue. We owe this to parents and caregivers, who look to the law for guidance, as well as our children.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the proper use of a safety seat can reduce a child’s fatality risk by up to 71 percent. In addition, in 2010, all of the five to eight year-old deaths due to car crashes were not properly restrained.

HB 2154 has been assigned to the House Transportation Committee. AAA will track the progress of HB 2154 and other transportation bills being considered during the 2012 Arizona legislature at az.aaa.com/news/legislativenews.htm.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services more than 800,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Emergency Road Service responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on the streets and highways of the state as well as providing insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. In 2008, AAA was ranked the No. 1 “socially responsible” brand by Landor’s BrandAsset® Valuator.