Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
04/13/2016 01:30 PM JUDICIARY
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HB 308-CHILD SAFETY SEAT INSTALLATION LIABILITY 2:26:25 PM CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration of HB 308. She noted that HB 308 AM is before the committee and this is the first hearing. 2:26:45 PM LINDSEY WHITT, Staff, Representative Charisse Millett, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, introduced HB 308 speaking to the following sponsor statement: Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death and injury among children in the United States. However, many of these deaths are preventable with the correct installation and use of child passenger safety devices, like car seats or booster seats. Car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants by 71%; and to toddlers by 54% in passenger vehicles. Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged 4-8 years when compared with seat belt use alone. The correct installation of any of these devices can alter their effectiveness dramatically, but many parents or caregivers accidentally misuse child restraints due to their complicated, unwieldy nature. In Alaska, the Child Passenger Safety Coalition has made the goal of protecting children traveling on the roadways of Alaska their priority. Members include healthcare professionals, firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers, injury prevention professionals, health and safety personnel, educators, parents, businesses, foundations, policymakers, and volunteers. Their team of Child Passenger Safety Technicians perform checks and help with the installation of child passenger safety devices for any new or interested parent or caregiver. Technicians are certified after successfully completing a 3 or 4-day program of classroom and hands-on work with child restraints and motor vehicles then demonstrate their skills at a community CPS check-up event. The resulting certification as a Child Passenger Safety Technician is nationally recognized and valid for 2 years. However, recruitment of new technicians can be difficult due to a lack of liability protection. To remedy this deficit of trained safety experts who provide essential assistance to parents, caregivers, and most importantly children, House Bill 308 limits the civil liability of certified technicians, or those who facilitate their program, in the case that an accident results from an act or omission in the inspection, installation, or adjustment of a child passenger safety device. With the goal of having our state's children safe and secured in their car seats and booster seats, this bill hopes to increase the numbers of those who can effectively install and inspect devices and direct liability to those who actually commit wrongful, criminal acts. CHAIR MCGUIRE listed the individuals available to answer questions: Anthony Green with Safe Kids Worldwide, Sara Penisten with Providence Medical Center, Clifton Powell with the Anchorage Fire Department, Jane Fellman with Safe Kids Kenai Peninsula, Mari Carpeneti with the Department of Law, Megan Wallace with Legislative Legal, and Corlis Taylor with the Alaska Child Passenger Safety Coalition. 2:28:11 PM MS. WHITT offered the following sectional analysis for HB 308: Section 1: Provides that the following are not civilly liable in the case of an act or omission that occurs in the inspection, installation, or adjustment of a child safety seat or in providing education regarding the installation or adjustment of a child safety seat: - A certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) - A person who arranges or offers the services of a CPST for the community - A person who owns property where a CPST is operating A CPST must offer their services for free or for the amount of their actual costs, in good faith, and within the scope of their training. They may also not be sponsored by a child passenger safety device manufacturer or retailer. Section 2: A new subsection (b) to AS 28.05.095 was added on the House floor changing the weight requirements of a child who is in need of a booster seat. A child under age 16 may not be transported in a vehicle without securing them safely. - A child one year of age or a child one year or older who weighs less than 20 pounds must be properly secured in a rear-facing child seat. - A child of one or more years but less than five years of age who weighs 20 pounds or more shall be properly secured in a child restraint device. - A child over four years of age but less than eight years of age who is less than 57 inches in height and weighs 20 or more pounds but less than 65 pounds shall be properly secured in a booster seat. Section 3 Applicability clause. 2:31:52 PM SENATOR COSTELLO questioned why seat belts aren't required in school buses. MS. WHITT deferred to Sara Penisten. 2:32:29 PM SARA PENISTEN, RN, Providence Medical Center, said the statistics from the motor vehicle testing process indicate that school buses are 8 times safer for a child passenger than riding in a private motor vehicle. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently looking at new requirements for school buses and changes in recommendations for school busses are expected in the next few years. She explained that traditionally they have operated on a compartmentalization model that is similar to eggs in an egg crate; if students are sitting in their seats facing forward, they are protected in a frontal collision. The protection doesn't extend to rollover situations. SENATOR COSTELLO said it's encouraging that changes are likely because she never understood the exemption. CHAIR MCGUIRE held HB 308 in committee.