Texas Law for Child Passenger Safety


Transportation Code 545.412

•  All children younger than 5 years AND less than 36” required to be in the appropriate safety restraint system

•  Must be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, some prohibited from use on front seats

•  Anywhere child sits in a passenger vehicle 

–  Passenger car, truck, light truck, truck tractor, SUV

•  As long as there is an open seating position available equipped with safety restraint system/safety belt


•  It’s strongly recommended that all children less than 13 years old ride properly restrained in the back seat 


Transportation Code 545.412 Changes   SB 61

•  Requires all children YOUNGER than 8 years old UNLESS already 4’9” (1.45m) tall to be in the appropriate child safety restraint system (car seat/booster seat/safety vest) anywhere they sit in a passenger vehicle

•  Fines

– No more than $25 first offense

– No more than $250 second and subsequent  offenses


Transportation Code 545.413  (until 09/01/2009)

•  All occupants in front seat of passenger vehicles must be restrained by either safety belts or child safety restraint systems

•  All occupants younger than 17 in back seat must also be restrained by safety belts or child safety restraint systems

•  Both of the above: provided an open seating position equipped with safety system/belt is available


Transportation Code 545.413 Changes   HB 537  (Effective 09/01/09)

•  A person commits an offense if they are at least 15 years old sitting in anywhere in a passenger vehicle and not wearing a safety belt

•  A person commits an offense if they allow an occupant younger than 17 to ride unrestrained in a passenger vehicle

•  Both of the above: provided an open seating position equipped with safety system/belt is available


Definitions/Changes   HB 537

•  Passenger vehicle: passenger car, truck, light truck, truck tractor, sport utility vehicle – per 545.412 

• CHANGE: 12 & 15 PASSENGER VANS added, effective 09/01/09

•  Passenger car: vehicle designed to transport not more than 10 occupants including the operator – per 541.201(12)





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