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Bill would make unbuckled children a primary offense

Bill would make unbuckled children a primary offense

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Right now police officers cannot stop a vehicle if they see children over the age of four not buckled up. Sen. Joe Schiavoni, a Boardman Democrat, wants to change that.

"We're making it a primary offense. If an officer sees a child standing up in the backseat then obviously they know that they don't have their seat belt on," said Schiavoni.

Ohio law mandates any child under the age of 4 or under 40 pounds must be in a child safety seat. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says that is a primary offense. But the rules get a little more murky for older children. Schiavoni wants there to be no confusion.

"I normally don't do reactionary legislation, but in this particular case I've talked with so many law enforcement at the local and state level and they say this is something that's very necessary that they really need and they believe can save lives," Schiavoni said.

He says this isn't about telling adults what to do, but he points out that children don't usually have a choice in the matter, so something needs to be done.

"There has to be some sort of penalty for this action if we're really going to make a difference," he said.

The penalty wouldn't change. It would be a $25 - $35 fine on the first offense and a minor misdemeanor on the second.

A similar bill has been introduced in the Ohio House.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

 

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