Monday, May 18, 2009

Texas Legislatures Pass Measures to Keep More People Buckled in While Traveling

The 2009 legislative session in Austin is drawing to a close soon, with June 1 marking the date on which our elected officials will return to their home districts to tout their achievements for the year. So, you can expect there to be a flurry of activity in the Capitol over the next couple of weeks as there are still several issues of consequence to be tackled. One topic that received some attention in the latter part of this past week was who needs to be buckled into a moving vehicle, as well as specifically how certain riders should be restrained.

On Friday, the Texas Senate approved a bill that would raise the age of children who must be strapped into booster seats from all kids five years old and under to children who are under the age of eight. Those who violate this policy will have a grace period during which only a warning will be received, but a $25 fine will be enacted in September 2010 with fines for subsequent offenses possibly as high as $250. The money raised from these fines will be used to purchase booster seats for low-income families. This bill already has been approved by the House and now just awaits the governor’s signature. So, parents of young children, consider this your ample warning to do some booster seat shopping if you previously thought your kid was beyond the need for such an accessory.

The Texas Senate also approved this week a measure that would require everyone, regardless of age, to be buckled into a seat belt while riding in a car or truck. Under current Texas law, seat belts are only required for all riders in the front seat only and in the backseat for those age fourteen and under. The penalty for not wearing your seatbelt would be a misdemeanor fine of between $25 and $50. The bill still must be passed in the House.

We know that these proposed laws were written with the intention of keeping the people of Texas safer when traveling on our roads. However, while seatbelts and booster seats certainly have been shown to prevent or lessen injuries during an accident, it is impossible to avoid tragic situations altogether. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence or poor driving, the personal injury attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. We have lawyers in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio who are ready to listen to your situation and offer a plan to get you the compensation you deserve.

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