A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that 43 percent of children killed in car accidents were not wearing a seat belt or buckled in properly to a car seat. Among children involved in a fatal crash in which someone died (not necessarily them), 20 percent were not properly buckled.
Rates of child fatality varied significantly from state to state, which underscores the argument that public information and state regulations can potentially have a direct impact on motor vehicle safety for children. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that seat belt usage tends to be higher for all kids in states that have tighter seat belt laws and enforcement.
In Maine, Maine Rev. Stat. Ch. 19, 1-2801 requires that children under 40 pounds be properly secured in a child safety seat in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction. The fine is $50 for a first-time offense and cannot be suspended by the court. Passengers under the age of 18 have to be wearing seat belts, and here again, the fine is $50 for a first-time offense.