In The News
Sept/Oct 2008 Issue

Mississippi enacts booster seat law

In an effort to keep all children safe in vehicles, Mississippi lawmakers have adopted a new law requiring older children to sit in a booster seat, joining dozens of other states that have enacted similar legislation.

Effective since July, children ages 4Ð6 and less than 4-feet-9-inches in height or less than 65 pounds in weight are required to use a booster seat. Mississippi's previous law only required children 3 years of age and younger to ride properly restrained in a child safety seat.

Booster seats were developed because seat belts in vehicles are designed for adults. The booster seat raises children up so the lap and shoulder belts fit properly across their upper thighs and chest.

Mississippi's law is expected to motivate parents and caregivers to move their children into some type of restraint appropriate for their child's age and weight. When Wisconsin enacted a similar booster seat law in 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performed an observational survey that found the number of children in child safety seats and booster seats increased by about 6 percent under the new law.

Mississippi is now the 44th state to enact a law to protect older child passengers in motor vehicles, joining Arkansas and Louisiana, which already have booster seat laws. About 350 4- to 7-year-old children die in traffic crashes each year and about 50,000 are injured, according to the NHTSA. Half of those who die are not in any type of restraint.

Safety Seat

Halloween’s deadly for pedestrians

The number of pedestrian deaths has declined in recent years, but there is still one such death every 107 minutes, and Halloween remains one of the year’s deadliest days, a new report found.
The National Pedestrian Crash Report analyzed trends in pedestrian deaths from 1997–2006 to help protect those who walk near roadways. Among the findings were:

  • About two-thirds of pedestrian deaths are in urban areas;
  • The most deadly season for pedestrian fatalities is autumn, and Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 are the two most deadly days of the year;
  • The older age group (over 64) has a much greater possibility than other age groups to be killed in a crash;
  • Most pedestrians who were killed carried out one or more unsafe actions. •
  • The number of pedestrians killed between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. is greater than during any other three-hour time frame;
  • Bad weather does not necessarily contribute to a pedestrian death, but a bad light condition does;
  • Friday and Saturday have higher fatalities rates than any other day of the week;
  • As a pedestrian’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) increases, the probability of a pedestrian getting killed in a crash increases;
  • Nearly 46 percent of pedestrian fatalities are alcohol-involved.

Compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin


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