Children seat belt bill proposed

Law would raise fines, suspend licenses of drivers.

Car crash (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Car crash
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee will begin hearings Tuesday on a law to reduce the number of children killed in collisions by employing strict measures against drivers who fail to make sure that kids have buckled up.
The bill, sponsored by MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) and cosponsored by MK Danny Danon (Likud), would raise the current fine for not seeing to it that minors above the age of 12 are seat-belted from NIS 250 to NIS 1,000.
More significantly, drivers found not to have ensured that children under 12 are buckled in appropriate seats may have their license suspended for up to three months.
Dichter’s bill enjoys wide support within the Knesset, and among its co-signers is Economic Affairs Committee chairman MK Ophir Akunis (Likud).
B’Terem said in advance of the committee meeting that traveling in vehicles without appropriate restraints is the main risk factor for child vehicular fatalities. Data from the children’s safety organization said that 29% of collision deaths among children in Israel are among those who were not properly restrained in the vehicles.
They cited research by American road safety authorities that children who are not restrained properly are 3.5 times more likely to be seriously injured in a collision than children who are properly secured, while car seats and age-appropriate boosters reduce by 71% the death and injury rates among infants, 54% among toddlers and 59% the injury rate among children up to the age of nine.
Meanwhile, Israeli data indicated that in 2009, the number of children in Israel restrained in vehicles in accordance with the law actually declined. Over half of Israeli infants, indicated the National Authority for Children’s Safety, were not properly restrained while traveling, while almost 80% of children between the ages of five and nine were improperly buckled or not wearing seatbelts at all.