Vehicle Code Tip of The Day

In anticipation of Child Passenger Safety Week, a review of PA laws relating to safety seat and seat belt usage in vehicles for children.

§ 4581. Restraint systems.

(a) Occupant protection.–

(1) Any person who is operating a passenger car, Class I truck, Class II truck, classic motor vehicle, antique motor vehicle or motor home and who transports a child under four years of age anywhere in the motor vehicle, including the cargo area, shall fasten such child securely in a child passenger restraint system, as defined in subsection (d). This subsection shall apply to all persons while they are operators of motor vehicles where a seating position is available which is equipped with a seat safety belt or other means to secure the systems or where the seating position was originally equipped with seat safety belts.

(1.1) Any person who is operating a passenger car, Class I truck, Class II truck, classic motor vehicle, antique motor vehicle or motor home and who transports a child four years of age or older but under eight years of age anywhere in the motor vehicle, including the cargo area, shall fasten such child securely in a fastened safety seat belt system and in an appropriately fitting child booster seat, as defined in subsection (d). This paragraph shall apply to all persons while they are operators of motor vehicles where a seating position is available which is equipped with a seat safety belt or other means to secure the systems or where the seating position was originally equipped with seat safety belts. A conviction under this paragraph by State or local law enforcement agencies shall occur only as a secondary action when a driver of a motor vehicle has been convicted of violating any other provision of this title.

(3) A driver who is under 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle in which the number of passengers exceeds the number of available safety seat belts in the vehicle.

(b) Offense.–Anyone who fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (a)(1) or (1.1) shall be guilty of a summary offense with a maximum fine of $100. The court imposing and collecting any such fines shall transfer the fines thus collected to the State Treasurer for deposit in the Child Passenger Restraint Fund, pursuant to section 4582 (relating to Child Passenger Restraint Fund). Anyone who violates subsection (a)(2) or (3) commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $10. No person shall be convicted of a violation of subsection (a)(2) unless the person is also convicted of another violation of this title which occurred at the same time. No costs as described in 42 Pa.C.S. § 1725.1 (relating to costs) shall be imposed for summary conviction of subsection (a)(2) or (3). Conviction under this subsection shall not constitute a moving violation.

(c) Waiver of fine.–If a person receives a citation issued by the proper authority for violation of subsection (a)(1) or (1.1), a magisterial district judge, magistrate or judge shall dismiss the charges if the person prior to or at the person’s hearing displays evidence of acquisition of a child passenger restraint system or child booster seat to such magisterial district judge, magistrate or judge. Sufficient evidence shall include a receipt mailed to the appropriate court officer which evidences purchase, rental, transferal from another child seat owner (evidenced by notarized letter) or bailment from a bona fide loaner program of a child passenger restraint system or child booster seat.

(d) Standards.–

(1) A child passenger restraint system shall be used as designated by the manufacturer of the system in motor vehicles equipped with seat safety belts and shall meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (49 C.F.R. § 571.213).

(2) A child booster seat shall be used as designated by the manufacturer of the system in motor vehicles equipped with seat safety belts and shall meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (49 CFR § 571.213) that is designed to elevate a child to properly sit in a federally approved safety seat belt system.

For assistance with child safety seat installation or questions regarding child safety seats, please call 717-292-3647 during regular business hours.

Share