Two new laws supported by Secretary of State Jesse White that go into effect Jan. 1 include child passenger and bike safety initiatives.
The first law will require parents and caregivers to secure children in rear-facing safety seats until they are 2-years-old or weigh 40 lbs. or more, or measure 40 or more inches tall.
“Children are five times safer riding in a rear-facing seat because their head, neck and spine are better protected in a crash,” White said. “Let’s make sure we keep our children safe by putting them in an appropriate car seat that is properly installed.”
• Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1-13, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
• The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act states that children under age 8 must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system, including booster seats.
• Car seats have been shown to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers, according to NHTSA.
White’s office, through its Keep Me in a Safe Seat program, provides child safety seat inspections by certified child safety seat technicians at 10 Driver Services facilities throughout the state.
The second law that will be enacted at the beginning of the year places more emphasis on bicycle safety for those taking Secretary of State driver exams. Test questions on the Dutch Reach, a technique drivers are encouraged to use in order to avoid hitting bicyclists with their car doors and other bike safety measures will be included on the Secretary of State’s driver’s exam and in the 2018/2019 Rules of the Road.
“This legislation will help improve safety between drivers and bicyclists who share the roads,” said White. “By adding questions to our written exam about bike safety, drivers will be more aware of the deadly consequences that can occur if they do not follow the Rules of the Road.”
White also reminds state residents the office issues the Bicycle Rules of the Road to ensure safe bike travel.