Georgia Child Passenger Safety Law
About the New Booster
Fact Sheets and
GOHS Press Release
News About the New Law
GEORGIA BOOSTER SEAT LAW
EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011. Children
under age eight are required to be in a child safety
seat or booster seat appropriate for their height
and weight and used according to the manufacturer's
instructions. The law also requires children under
eight to ride in the rear seat.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE LAW. The new law
has some exceptions. For example, children under eight
are required to ride in the rear seat, but exceptions
exist if there is no rear seating, or all appropriate
rear seating positions are already occupied by other
children. In this case, children under eight may ride
in the front seat but must be properly restrained
in a child safety seat or booster seat appropriate
for their height and weight. Be aware of the potential
for serious injury from airbag deployment if children
are placed in the front seat.
VEHICLE EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LAW.
Exempt vehicles under the law include taxicabs and
public transit (as under previous laws).
Senate Bill 88 extended the exemption for Licensed
Child Care Providers that transport children over
four and under eight years of age in "buses"
as defined in Paragraph 7 of O.C.G.A. 40-1-1 until
July 1, 2012 provided that the bus is operated
by a licensed or commissioned child care facility,
has a current annual transportation safety inspection
certificate as required by the appropriate licensing
body, and has evidence of being inspected for use
by a child care facility. In Georgia, "Bus"
as defined in
O.C.G.A. 40-1-1(7) is every motor vehicle designed
for carrying more than ten passengers and used for
the transportation of persons (i.e., twelve- or fifteen-passenger
vans, or shuttle buses through July 1, 2012). Child
Care Providers are encouraged to refer to the Georgia
Department of Community Health (DCH) "Child Care
Transportation Vehicle Requirements" guide in
the Additional Resources section
School Buses and Multifunction School Activity Buses
(MFSAB) continue to be exempt because they must meet
more stringent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
(FMVSS) for transporting children. All school buses
and MFSAB’s have a label from the manufacturer
certifying that it is a school bus or MFSAB. This
label is typically located on the inside edge of the
driver's side door or on the pillar near the driver's
seat, and will state “school bus” or “MFSAB”
as its vehicle classification if it meets the FMVSS.
CHILD WEIGHT EXCEPTIONS TO THE LAW.
For booster seats to be used properly, a lap/shoulder
belt is required. There is an exception in the law
that will allow a child who is over 40 pounds to use
a lap belt only if there are no shoulder belts
in the vehicle, or if positions that have lap/shoulder
belts are being used to properly restrain other children.
(Again, if there are only lap belts in the rear, the
child may be placed in the front seat. Children must
be properly restrained in a child safety seat that
is appropriate for their height and weight and used
according to the manufacturer's instructions. NOTE:
Consult the safety seat manufacturer's manual. Some
child restraints and booster seats cannot be used
in the front seating position.)
CHILD HEIGHT & HEALTH EXCEPTIONS TO THE
LAW. If a parent can show that a child's
height is over 4'9", that child may be restrained
in a safety belt in lieu of a booster seat. A child
under eight could already be exempt if the parent
or guardian has a physician's written statement that
a physical or medical condition prevents using a child
safety seat or safety restraint system. Be aware
of the potential for serious injury from airbag deployment
if children are placed in the front seat.
CITATIONS AND FINES UNDER THE LAW.
The law provides that any person transporting an unrestrained
child may receive up to a $50 fine and one point.
If that offender has a second conviction, the fine
may double up to $100 and two points. One citation
may be written per child unrestrained or improperly
HISTORY BEHIND GEORGIA'S BOOSTER SEAT LAW.
In the 2011 Legislative session of the Georgia General
Assembly House Bill 279 and
Senate Bill 88 were introduced to strengthen Georgia's
Child Passenger Safety laws. The changes to the law
strengthened the age requirement, changing the requirement
to properly restrain a child from age six (enacted
in 2004) to age eight. On May 9, 2011
Governor Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 88 into law effective
July 1, 2011.
The 2004 booster seat law required child safety seat
usage until age six. Before its passage, that bill
journeyed through the Georgia General Assembly for
two years. The bill was called "Madison's Law"
named for a little girl whose life was miraculously
spared by a booster seat.
Madison Harty survived a catastrophic crash when
an SUV rammed into the side of her family's minivan
and sheared off the side where Madison was sitting.
First responders credited the booster seat with saving
the life of the little girl. With Georgia's booster
many more young lives like Madison's will be saved.
EASY ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS.
The Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute recommends
that all children ride in a child safety seat or booster
seat that is appropriate for their height and weight.
Although the law does not require kids age eight,
nine and ten to use booster seats, GTIPI recommends
children remain in a booster seat placed in the rear
vehicle seat, used with the vehicle lap and shoulder
belt until their height reaches 4-feet-9 inches tall.
Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury
for infants by 71% and by 54% for toddlers involved
in motor vehicle crashes.
GEORGIA'S PRIMARY SAFETY BELT LAW.
Georgia already has a "primary safety belt law." This
means law enforcement officers can issue citations
by observing any safety belt offense, unlike other
states with a "secondary safety belt law"
where a driver must first be stopped for some other
EVERY OCCUPANT UNDER 18 MUST BE RESTRAINED.
Under Georgia law, every occupant under the age of
18 must be restrained regardless of where they sit
in a passenger vehicle, including pickup trucks.
State law requires that every child under age eight
be properly restrained in a child safety seat and
that each minor, eight years of age or older, who
is an occupant of a 'passenger vehicle' must be restrained
by a safety belt.
For more information call the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention
Institute at 678-413-4281, or toll free at 800-342-9819,
for additional information about child safety seats and proper seat belt use.
a Georgia Booster Seat information page for personal
reference or copying here (Adobe .pdf)
Law, Booster Seat, and Child Safety Seat materials
Passenger Safety page
Safety best practice and resource links
Care Transportation Vehicle Requirements
To read the actual text of Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 40-8-76)
NOTE: The online version
is UNANNOTATED and may not reflect changes from the
current legislative session until after they take
effect. New laws in the Official Code of
Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) are in full effect as
of July 1st each year unless another date is otherwise
specified in the code.