Proposed law would protect kids riding in cars in Ohio

Everyone should wear seat belts when they are driving or riding in motor vehicles. It is required by Ohio law and it has been proven to save lives. Nevertheless, many still choose to not buckle up.

Although seat belt usage has been required for front-seat passengers since 1986, it remains a secondary offense, meaning that you couldn’t be charged with a violation unless you had already been pulled over for another offense.

Now, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni is out to change that.

Prompted by the fatal accident northeast Ohio in January in which two adults and one child died, Schiavoni introduced Senate Bill 302 last week which will make it a primary offense for children under the age of 15 to be riding in a vehicle without being properly restrained. This would allow law enforcement to pull over drivers if they see a seat belt or car seat violation rather than wait for a traffic offense to occur before taking action.

In the accident near Gavers, Ohio, six of the nine passengers riding in the overcrowded Chevy Equinox, including three children besides the girl who died, were not restrained.

SB 302 is necessary to help protect the lives of innocent children endangered by careless adults, and we encourage the full legislature to support it.