Everything You Need to Know About Louisiana Car Seat Laws
Keeping your child safe is your top priority. But it’s also important to know the specific Louisiana car seat laws to avoid legal woes.
According to the CDC, in a year, nearly 700 children die in motor vehicle crashes. And over 100,000 are seriously injured. According to one study, more than 600 thousand children nationwide are riding without proper restraints.
Whether you’re a parent or a friend transporting the child temporarily, not following the laws isn’t an option. Car seats save lives. And they keep you from needing to deal with relentless injury attorneys in Baton Rouge in the event that the worst were to happen.
Let’s explore what you need to know about the law and keeping children safely secured.
Who Must Follow Car Seat Laws in Louisiana
Regardless of who you are, if you’re transporting a child, you’re required to follow Louisiana car seat laws.
If you’re visiting from another state or country, the law still applies to you.
If you’re picking a child up from preschool as a favor to a busy mom or dad, these laws apply to you.
If you’re traveling down a highway or just down a neighborhood street, you’ll need to follow these laws.
As the responsible adult, you’re expected to make arrangements to have the appropriate equipment to abide by the law. So you may need to plan ahead.
Rules vary for school bus drivers. Buses are the safest mode of transportation for children.
Louisiana Car Seat Laws
Louisiana takes child safety very seriously. They have clear guidelines regarding securing a child in a motor vehicle.
Age and Weight Requirements
- <1 year and fewer than 20lb – Rear facing in seat designed specifically for infants
- 1-4 years or 20-40lb – Forward facing in a convertible or combo seat with an internal harness securing the child
- 4-6 years old and 40-60lb – A booster seat with a belt-positioning functionality. High back or backless are acceptable.
- 6+ years and over 60lb – Lap belt only or belt positioning booster seat
The child is to be restrained according to the instructions provided with the safety seat.
If the child is in between or doesn’t seem well secured in a seat designed for an older child, err on the side of caution as long as the child can sit comfortably in that seat.
If the number of children exceeds the number of safety devices (seats, harnesses, boosters, etc.) the unrestrained child should always be in the back seat.
If a vehicle is equipped with an activated side air bag, any child under the age of 6 weighing fewer than 60lb must sit in a rear seat unless the vehicle has none.
The laws go on to state that there are certain exceptions. As a savvy driver, you need to know what they are.
- Ambulances and other emergency vehicles are exempt.
- The driver or child is experiencing a life-threatening emergency.
- A child is physically incapable of being restrained, eg, special needs child.
Penalties for Not Following the Law
If you get pulled over for violating child safety laws, you will most likely be issued a ticket. Accompanying this ticket will be a fine in the following amounts:
- 1st offense = $100
- 2nd offense = $250-500
- 3rd offense = $500 + court costs
- Further offenses = $500 + court costs
Caveats & Exceptions
If you did restrain a child but failed to restrain the child in an age/weight appropriate seat, the maximum fine is $100. And they can’t charge you any court costs exceeding the $100 total amount.
Not restraining a child can be a primary offense, which means that an officer can pull you over for no other reason than they saw an unrestrained child in your vehicle.
If you restrained the child, but the child isn’t in an age/weight appropriate seat, this is considered a secondary offense. This means that the officer must have another reason to pull you over like:
- Expired tags
- Tail light
- Not using a turn signal
Once they’ve pulled you over, however, they can give you a ticket for the secondary offense even if you don’t receive a ticket for the reason that they pulled you over.
If you get pulled over and are given a ticket for a violation of Louisiana car seat laws, you cannot receive a second violation under the law for at least 24 hours.
This isn’t free reign to drive around without restraining your child.
This “grace period” is intended to allow you to take that child to a drop off location so that you can buy or place a compliant restraint device.
Insurance & License
Car seat violations are non-moving violations according to Louisiana car seat laws. Because of this, the impact on your life and pocketbook are less than something like a DWI or reckless driving.
That is excluding instances where a child gets hurt.
These non-moving violations will go on your driving record for 5 years, which your insurance company will have access to. Most companies, however, won’t raise your rates because of a non-moving violation.
Louisiana doesn’t have a license point system. In some states, you earn points for each moving and non-moving violation. If you acquire a certain number, you lose your license. This is not the case in Louisiana.
That’s good news and bad news. While you might not automatically lose your license, a judge could decide to suspend your license in an extreme case.
Child Restraint Affidavits
After receiving a ticket, you’ll have 30-days to provide proof that you have purchased the appropriate seat.
If you don’t provide this proof, your license can be suspended until you do.
Seat Installation Assistance in Louisiana
As part of Louisiana car seat laws, the state established car seat help centers. These sites will inspect your seat, help you install it correctly and answer questions.
If you’re unsure about what your child needs, visit a location.
Louisiana Car Seat Laws Matter
Protecting your child from all types of car accidents whether a rear-end fender bender in at an intersction or a rollover on the highway is extremely important. If anyone will be transporting the child, make sure they know the laws. If you’re transporting a child for someone else, know that these laws apply to you.
If you or your child have been injured in a car accident in which another driver was a fault, you may be entitled to payment for damages you incurred.
If you’ve been injured, Stephen Babcock of Babcock Partners is standing by to help you.
Your case — and your future will be our top priority. When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephen’s 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee.
Contact us today.
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