Illustration of a three-point seatbelt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ever since AB 1595 was passed back in July of 2012, the ASA has been working diligently towards a solution to address the legislation's unintended consequences. First, we helped to develop and quickly pass AB 1266 which eliminated the requirement that both feet must be flat on the floorboard provision of AB 1595, as well as, delaying the section dealing with aftermarket seat locations not designed by the manufacturer until July 1, 2013.
Some of these new rules, while well-intentioned, created operational difficulties for many families and people with disabilities. It also made previously modified Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles illegal, despite the fact that they were purchased before the new requirements were in place. Now, the ASA is working with Senator Mimi Walters' office on a more permanent solution to address the concerns of our membership. SB 234 has been introduced to Legislative Counsel and would make the following three changes:
- Eliminates the safety helmet requirement for child who is secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system meeting specified requirements.
- Allows a passenger to occupy a separate seat location not designed or provided by the manufacturer in vehicles with a model year of 2013 or earlier provided that the seat is fully contained inside of the vehicle's protection structure.
- Repeals the provision that an ROHV passenger, while seated upright with his or her back against the seatback, can grasp the occupant handhold with the seatbelt and shoulder belt or safety harness properly fastened.
It is likely that the bill language will change as it is seen by the various committees. At this point it is too early to determine what changes will be made. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available. In the meantime, you can follow the progress of AB 234 at: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB234