H.B. No. 183
relating to the use of safety belts and child passenger safety seat
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 545.412(a), Transportation Code, as
amended by Chapters 618 and 910, Acts of the 77th Legislature,
Regular Session, 2001, is reenacted and amended to read as follows:
(a) A person commits an offense if the person operates a
passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than five
four] years of age and [ or] less than 36 inches in height, and does
not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a
child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of
the manufacturer of the safety seat system.
SECTION 2. Section 545.412(e), Transportation Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(e) This section does not apply to a person:
(1) operating a vehicle transporting passengers for
hire, including third-party transport service providers when
transporting clients pursuant to a contract to provide nonemergency
Medicaid transportation; or
(2) transporting a child in a vehicle in which all
seating positions equipped with child passenger safety seat systems
or safety belts are occupied.
SECTION 3. Subchapter I, Chapter 545, Transportation Code,
is amended by adding Section 545.4121 to read as follows:
Sec. 545.4121. DEFENSE; POSSESSION OF CHILD PASSENGER
SAFETY SEAT SYSTEM. (a) This section applies to an offense
committed under Section 545.412.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution of an offense to which
this section applies that the defendant provides to the court
evidence satisfactory to the court that the defendant possesses an
appropriate child passenger safety seat system for each child
required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under
SECTION 4. Section 545.413(b), Transportation Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(b) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) operates a passenger vehicle that is equipped with
safety belts; and
(2) allows a child who is [ at least five years of age
but] younger than 17 years of age [ or who is younger than five years
of age] and who is not required to be secured in a child passenger
safety seat system under Section 545.412(a) [ at least 36 inches in
height] to ride in the vehicle without requiring the child to be
secured by a safety belt, provided the child is occupying a seat
that is equipped with a safety belt.
SECTION 5. Section 708.052, Transportation Code, is amended
by adding Subsection (f) to read as follows:
(f) For the purposes of this section, an offense under
Section 545.412 is a moving violation of a traffic law.
SECTION 6. Article 45.0511, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
amended by adding Subsection (u) to read as follows:
(u) The requirement of Subsection (b)(2) does not apply to a
defendant charged with an offense under Section 545.412,
Transportation Code, if the judge requires the defendant to attend
and present proof that the defendant has successfully completed a
specialized driving safety course that includes four hours of
instruction that encourages the use of child passenger safety seat
systems, and any driving safety course taken by the defendant under
this section within the 12 months preceding the date of the offense
did not include that training. The person's driving record under
Subsection (c)(2) and the affidavit of the defendant under
Subsection (c)(3) is required to include only previous or
concurrent courses that included that training.
SECTION 7. (a) The Department of Public Safety of the State
of Texas shall conduct a study regarding legislative options to
improve child passenger safety laws.
(b) In completing the study, the Department of Public Safety
of the State of Texas shall seek input from:
(1) state agencies charged with developing child
(2) advocates for child safety;
(3) volunteer organizations providing child safety
services to children;
(5) automobile manufacturers and child passenger
safety seat manufacturers; and
(6) other appropriate persons as determined by the
(c) The study must include:
(1) whether there are public safety benefits to
increasing the age, height, or weight requirements for children to
ride in a vehicle properly secured in a safety seat;
(2) the need for a grace period for drivers to learn of
a potential change in child passenger safety seat laws;
(3) potential reduction of health care costs to treat
seatbelt and other related injuries to children if child passenger
safety laws are changed;
(4) options to educate parents and educators about the
importance of child passenger safety laws; and
(5) other states' child safety laws.
(d) The Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas
shall complete the study and report to the legislature on or before
September 1, 2006.
(e) This section expires September 1, 2007.
SECTION 8. (a) The change in law made by this Act applies
only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this
Act. For the purposes of this section, an offense is committed
before the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense
occurs before that date.
(b) An offense committed before the effective date of this
Act is governed by the law in effect when the offense was committed,
and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
SECTION 9. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.
President of the Senate Speaker of the House
I certify that H.B. No. 183 was passed by the House on April
25, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 92, Nays 46, 1 present, not
voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
No. 183 on May 29, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 134, Nays 8, 2
present, not voting.
Chief Clerk of the House
I certify that H.B. No. 183 was passed by the Senate, with
amendments, on May 25, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays
Secretary of the Senate