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8/31/2017 State leaders, AAA praise passage of new child passenger safety law
Legislative and highway safety leaders joined AAA Northeast today to promote a new child passenger safety law requiring that children remain in rear-facing child safety seats until they reach age 2.

Rhode Island’s new law follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and had the support of the Rhode Island Traffic Safety Coalition, a broad base of traffic safety stakeholders. A similar law passed this year in neighboring Connecticut, and legislation is currently pending in Massachusetts.

The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and in the House by Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick). They were joined at a press conference at AAA’s Providence headquarters by Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti, Rhode Island State Police Major Christopher J. Dicomitas and AAA Northeast President and CEO Mark Shaw. Shaw also announced that AAA will donate $2,500 to the RI SafeKids Coalition to be used for the purchase of car seats for underprivileged families.

“This new law serves as a reminder to parents not to turn small children’s car seats around too early,” said Senator Ruggerio (D-North Providence, Providence). “While it may be tempting to turn them around as they grow and start talking, toddlers under age two still need the extra protection they get from remaining rear-facing. This law is a call to everyone who drives with young children to heed the recommendations fully and protect our littlest Rhode Islanders.”

“Doctors and safety experts have long recommended rear-facing car seats for babies, and, fortunately, most parents follow the advice for protection of their children,” said Representative Shekarchi (D-Warwick). “Our laws should be updated to strengthen that message and provide law enforcement the authority to tell any parents who aren’t following the law that they need to turn their child around for his or her safety.”

AAA President Shaw also noted that Rhode Island is strongly represented at the national level with three members of the Child Passenger Safety Board. AAA Northeast Traffic Safety Programs Manager Diana Imondi represents all AAA Clubs on the Board and chairs the national curriculum committee. Dr. Dina Burstein, head of RI SafeKids, will soon begin serving a term as Board chair. And Lt. Laurie Ludovici of the R.I. State Police is the law enforcement representative on the Board.

For more information, contact:
Legislative Press Bureau,
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457