State Capitol News
9:16 am
Wed March 16, 2011

State Lawmakers Moving to Impose New Restrictions on Motorists

Phoenix, AZ – State law requires that children up through age four be fastened
in to specially designed seats. That mandate disappears once a
youngster turns five. But another state law says anyone younger
than 16 must wear a seat belt. The problem is that the belts are
not designed for small people. And doctors testified that in an
accident, a child can slip down under the belt, be bent over and
snap the spine. This legislation requires booster seats until a
child reaches age nine. Rep. Nancy McLain said she was prepared
to vote against the measure until a month ago.

(I spoke to a pediatric emergency physician who reminded me that
we already mandate that children be restrained. But without the
booster seats, we're telling them to restrain their child in a
very unsafe manner.)

The House agreed, approving the measure on a 34-24 vote. Across
the courtyard, the Senate gave its approval to a ban on driving
while texting. That vote came over the objections of Senate
President Russell Pearce who said there already are laws that
deal with distracting driving.

(Whether it's putting on make-up, whether it's attending to your
kids in the back seat because you have to reach around and do
some corrective action, whether you have to change the radio
station, we have plenty of laws. You just can't keep passing laws
for all this stuff, folks.)

That bill now goes to the House. For Arizona Public Radio this is
Howard Fischer.