Governor Patrick Quinn signed legislation to raise fines for improperly securing children eight years and younger in Illinois from $50 to $75. Drivers cited for repeated offenses will now be fined $200.
The Governor’s office states this measure is to promote education among Illinois drivers. To support this point, drivers receiving an initial citation can waive the $75 fee by taking a course on the proper use and installation of child safety seats.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has found that properly installed child safety seats make children under one year of age 71 percent less likely to die in a car crash; however, national estimates suggest only one in four child safety seats are properly installed.
Chicago residents soon may come face-to-face with information on how to get help properly installing child safety seats in cars. The City Council approved a new ordinance requiring Chicago stores that sell the safety seats to post such particulars. These signs will direct Chicagoans to private and nonprofit organizations that provide support to people installing the seats. Stores that sell these seats but do not post this information will face a fine up to $500.
According to Tanya Triche, an attorney for the Illinois Retail Merchants Assocation, Chicago is now the only city in the nation requiring retailers to post this information.
This article was co-authored by Katie Manifold, a third-year law student at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.