Tragic Pennsylvania Accident Serves as a Reminder of Child Safety Restraint Requirements

A crash earlier this month in Nicholson Township, about 25 miles outside of Scranton, PA, left a man and his 3-year-old daughter dead.  According to an article in the Times-Tribune, the man, who was driving a pickup truck, crossed the center line on West Nicholson Road and struck another pickup head-on.  The police report that while the father was wearing a seat belt, the toddler was not in either a child-safety seat or in a seat belt.  The girl and her father were both pronounced dead at the scene from “massive traumatic” injuries. 

Our Pennsylvania car accident attorneys have seen the devastation that automobile accidents can cause, and we know that sometimes restraints cannot protect the lives of those in accidents. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that when properly restrained infants have a 71% greater chance of surviving a car crash and toddlers have a 54 percent decrease in the risk of death. Further, the NHTSA reports that injury risks for children using “belt-positioning booster seats,” as opposed to seat belts alone, are reduced by 59 percent. 

The Pennsylvania Drivers Manual notes that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury to children in the United States. In Pennsylvania each year, approximately 7,000 children under five years of age are involved in crashes. 

Pennsylvania law requires children to be properly restrained.  Following are the requirements, as listed in the PA Drivers Manual: 

  • Children under the age of four must be buckled into a federally-approved child safety seat, which must be secured to the vehicle by the seat belt system, no matter where the child rides in the vehicle.
  • Children ages four and older, but under the age of eight, must be buckled into a federally-approved child booster seat, which must be secured to the vehicle by the seat belt system, no matter where they ride in a vehicle. Booster seats must be used in conjunction with lap and shoulder belts.
  • Children ages eight and older, but under age 18 must be buckled in a seat belt, no matter where they ride in the vehicle.
  • Drivers are responsible for securing children into an approved child passenger restraint system and ensuring children under age 18 are buckled up.

Pennsylvania drivers should also educate themselves on safety issues associated with specific car seats, and review the guidelines published by the NHTSA for car seat recommendations.

Our personal injury attorneys encourage all drivers to use safety restraints when traveling Pennsylvania highways.  Using seatbelts and child safety seats are the most important steps you can take for ensuring you and your loved ones arrive safely at your destination.

Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys Today 

If you have been injured or a loved one killed in a vehicle accident that was caused by another person’s carelessness or recklessness, you may be able to recover damages that include medical costs, property loss, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  Please call Munley, Munley & Cartwright’s lawyers at 1-800-318-LAW1 for a free assessment of your case or use our Free Online Accident Case Evaluation.

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Posted by Your Lawyer 1:23 pm