Child Booster Seat Law In Maryland

August 11, 2010

child booster seat

Effective June 30, 2008, the state of Maryland, put into effect a New Child Booster Seat Law, which requires all children in Maryland to ride in an approved child booster seat until the age of 8, reach a height of 4’9″, or weigh over 65 pounds. This new law also requires that children between the ages of 8-16 be secured in seat belts. Also no child under the age of 16 is allowed to ride in the back of pickup trucks.

Booster seats are intended to provide a platform that lifts the child up off the vehicle seat in order to improve the fit of the child in the adult safety belt.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. The use of child booster seats for children ages 4-7 reduces the risk of injury from a car accident by 59% compared to using a seat belt without a booster seat.

Each year, an average of 500 children ages 4-7 die and thousands more are injured as a result of automobile accidents. According to the Partners for Child Passenger Safety, booster seats can substantially reduce the risk of death and injury to children through the age of 7. The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency‘s National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats states that only 25 % of children were properly secured in a booster seat.

Child Safety Seats Save Lives

Here are some helpful ways to determine when a child is ready to move from a child booster seat to a regular seat, according to the Safety Belt Safe and Safe USA.:

  • the child, seating flush against the back of the seat, can bend his/her knees over the seat edge comfortably;
  • the should belt rests between the neck and shoulder when seated;
  • the lap belt is across his/her lap, not riding up on the abdomen or down on his/her thighs, when seated;
  • the child is mature enough to remain in the correct position for the duration of the ride.

The fine for violating the law is $25 in the state of Maryland. 17 states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia have implemented the new booster seat law.

A Defective Electronic Circuit is the Cause of the Metro Crash of June 22, 2009

July 29, 2010

Metro Accident

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), announced on July 27, 2010, that it had completed its investigation into the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) train crash of June 22, 2009.

The crash occurred around 5pm. Two red line trains were involved. One train slammed in to the back of another train, outside the Fort Totten Station, in Washington, D.C.. The rear train, which was traveling at a high rate of speed, crashed into the rear of the front train and was propelled about 65 feet into the air and landed on the front train. Many people were ejected from the rear train and nine people, including the operator of the rear train died on impact.

The cause of the crash was determined to be a defective electronic circuit and negligent safety standards. The defective track circuit modules cause the automatic train control (ATC) to lose detection of the trains traveling on the red line track. The circuit is responsible for maintaining a safe distance between trains traveling on the same track. This circuit began to lose its ability to detect trains on the track and therefore the trains collided, because there was not enough time for the rear train to stop before crashing into the front train. The crash could have been avoided had the necessary verification tests, that were developed in 2005, had been conducted. Had this test been used, the system failure would have been detected and the lives of the 9 victims could have been spared.

Furthermore, WMATA‘s failure to replace and retrofit its 1000- series rail cars (cars involved in the crash) was also determined to be a cause of the crash. WMATA failed to replace these cars, despite knowing they rated poorly, when it came to crashworthiness.

Metro Accident

Numerous accident injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against WMATA as a result of the crash. Our office specifically is representing 2 parties injured in this crash.

Deborah Hersman, Chairman of the NTSB said, “Our hope is that the lessons learned from this accident will be not only a catalyst for change at WMATA, but also the cornerstone of a greater effort to establish a federal role in oversight and safety standards for rail transit systems across the nation.”