Seat belt & child-restraint legislation (2014)
House Bill 199: Would require booster seats use by children under age 9 and between 40 and 57 inches in height. (Current requirement is age 9 and up to 50 inches.) Clarifies that a child of any age who is over 57 inches tall is not required to be secured in a booster seat. (Hall)
Kentucky seat belt law: Driver and passengers must wear seat belts, unless passenger is covered by child-restraint law (below). Exception for those with physician’s letter. $25 fine, primary enforcement. Read the Kentucky seat belt statute.
Kentucky child-restraint law: Children under 40 inches tall must be secured in a child-restraint system meeting federal vehicle safety standards. Children under age 7 between 40 inches and 50 inches must be secured in a child booster seat. Read the Kentucky child-restraint statute.
Vehicles: Front (or forward) seats must have “adequate anchors” or attachments to the rear of seats to which seat belts can be secured. Seat belt law applies to vehicles manufactured after 1981.
News & notes
Gov. Steve Beshear called for stronger child-restraint laws during the State of the Commonwealth Address in January 2014, saying there was a need “to align Kentucky’s booster seat regulations with federal recommendations, because our current laws are not protective enough.”
The governor was in support of House Bill 199, from state Rep. Keith Hall, D-Pike.
“Kentucky requires booster seats for children under 7 years old who are between 40 and 50 inches tall. But federal highway safety officials and pediatricians recommend booster seats for children up to age 9 and 57 inches tall, because it’s safer.
“In a recent study in Kentucky, 70 percent of the 142 children seriously hurt in accidents were 8 or 9 years old — falling outside of the protection of Kentucky’s current law,” Beshear said. “Because of improper seat belt positioning, they became trauma patients, with horrible internal injuries.”
Several of the child booster seat bills submitted in 2008 (below) called for the 57 inches, but the legislation signed into law stopped at 50 inches.
Beshear also called for an end to mobile phone use by drivers in Kentucky school zones.
2012 seat belt legislation
Senate Bill 89: Expanded seat belt law to cover vehicles with 15 and few passengers, instead of 10 and fewer. Signed into law by governor. (Harris)
2008 seat belt legislation
Senate Bill 120: Requires that a child under age 7 years between 40 and 50 inches tall be secured in a child booster seat. Signed into law by governor. (Buford)
SB 114: Requires that a child under the age of 8 years and between 40 and 57 inches in height be secured in a child booster seat. (Jones II)
House Bill 55: Requires that a child under age 8 years and between 40 and 57 inches in height be secured in a child booster seat. Approved by House. (Burch)
2006 seat belt legislation
House Bill 117 (via amendment 4): Makes seat belt law subject to primary enforcement, meaning police can stop and cite offenders for that reason alone. (Williams)
- Read about Kentucky distracted driving laws.