Child Safety Seat Laws and Taxis
By Roger Thorne J.D.
Updated July 21, 2017
Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death for young children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these deaths are preventable through the use of child restraint devices, including car seats or booster seats, which is why all states have laws governing the use of these devices. However, these laws generally do not apply to for-hire car services, including taxi cabs.
Rules And Exceptions
Every state has laws requiring the use of child restraints, safety seats and booster seats. For example, the state of Maryland requires that any child younger than the age of 8 years old must be in a child restraint device while riding in a car unless the child is taller than 4 foot, 9 inches or weighs more than 65 lbs., according to the Maryland Department of Transportation. However, taxi cabs in Maryland, and other states, are specifically exempted from this requirement. Taxi cab operators are not required to transport children using car seats.
Although taxi cab operators are generally exempt from providing child car safety seats or restraint requirements, some states and areas, such as California, require passengers to wear seat belts while driving. Passengers must also provide their own child restraint system for children under 8 years of age. Children who are a minimum of 4 feet, 9 inches in height or weigh more than 40 pounds may use a lap belt instead of a child restraint system. While the cab operator has no duty to provide a restraint system for children, he must allow passengers to install one in the cab.
In at least one state, Massachusetts, the law requires children to be properly restrained in any vehicle, including taxi cabs. However, the $25 fine imposed for a violation is not levied against the cab driver, but against the parent. If the taxi operator does not provide the child safety restraint, it is up to the parents or person traveling with the child to do so. This is a primary law in Massachusetts, meaning a law enforcement officer can stop any car in which a child is not properly restrained.
- Maryland Department of Transportation - State Highway Administration: Child Passenger Safety
- SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.: Enforcing California Restraint Laws for Children
- Insurance Institute of Highway Safety: Safety Belt and Child Restraint Laws
- Massachusetts Department of Transportation: FAQs - Inspections
- Centers for Disease Control and Precention: Child Passenger Safety: Fact-Sheet
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.