Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 448 would create an offense for driving with a child younger than two years old who is not secured in a rear-facing safety seat unless the child is taller than three feet, four inches or weighs more than 40 pounds.
A peace officer would be prohibited from stopping a motor vehicle or detaining the operator of a vehicle solely to enforce this offense. Nor would an officer be able to issue a citation for this offense without first determining that the person has previously been issued a warning or citation for or convicted of this offense.
It would be a defense to prosecution that the child has a medical condition, as evidenced by a written statement from a physician, that prevents the child from being secured in a rear-facing child safety seat.
Texas Action opposes HB 448 for violating the principles of limited government and individual liberty. While recognizing the good intentions of this bill, the offense it creates goes beyond already existing offenses which require use of a safety seat for a child younger than 8. This bill takes a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach that fails to take into account the varying types and sizes of vehicles and the people who occupy them. The decision about when to turn a child's car seat from rear-facing to forward-facing is and should remain entirely at the discretion of the child's parents. Under no circumstances should parents be made liable for criminal penalties based on the direction their child is facing in a vehicle.