28-907. Child restraint system; civil penalty; exemptions; notice; child restraint fund; definitions

A. Except as provided in subsection H of this section, a person shall not operate a motor vehicle on the highways in this state when transporting a child who is under five years of age unless that child is properly secured in a child restraint system.

B. The operator of a motor vehicle that is designed for carrying ten or fewer passengers, that is manufactured for the model year 1972 and thereafter and that is required to be equipped with an integrated lap and shoulder belt or a lap belt pursuant to the federal motor vehicle safety standards prescribed in 49 Code of Federal Regulations section 571.208 shall require each passenger who is at least five years of age, who is under eight years of age and who is not more than four feet nine inches tall to be restrained in a child restraint system.

C. The department shall adopt standards in accordance with 49 Code of Federal Regulations section 571.213 for the performance, design and installation of child restraint systems for use in motor vehicles as prescribed in this section.

D. A person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of fifty dollars, except that a civil penalty shall not be imposed if the person makes a sufficient showing that the motor vehicle has been subsequently equipped with a child restraint system that meets the standards adopted pursuant to subsection C of this section. A sufficient showing may include a receipt mailed to the appropriate court officer that evidences purchase or acquisition of a child restraint system. The court imposing and collecting the civil penalty shall deposit, pursuant to sections 35-146 and 35-147, the monies, exclusive of any surcharges imposed pursuant to sections 12-116.01 and 12-116.02, in the child restraint fund.

E. If a law enforcement officer stops a vehicle for an apparent violation of this section, the officer shall determine from the driver the age and height of the child or children in the vehicle to assess whether the child or children in the vehicle should be in child restraint systems.

F. If the information given to the officer indicates that a violation of this section has not been committed, the officer shall not detain the vehicle any further unless some additional violation is involved. The stopping of a vehicle for an apparent or actual violation of this section is not probable cause for the search or seizure of the vehicle unless there is probable cause for another violation of law.

G. The requirements of this section or evidence of a violation of this section are not admissible as evidence in a judicial proceeding except in a judicial proceeding for a violation of this section.

H. This section does not apply to any of the following:

1. A person who operates a motor vehicle that was originally manufactured without passenger restraint devices.

2. A person who operates a motor vehicle that is also a recreational vehicle as defined in section 41-4001.

3. A person who operates a commercial motor vehicle and who holds a current commercial driver license issued pursuant to chapter 8 of this title.

4. A person who must transport a child in an emergency to obtain necessary medical care.

5. A person who operates an authorized emergency vehicle that is transporting a child for medical care.

6. A person who transports more than one child under eight years of age in a motor vehicle that because of the restricted size of the passenger area does not provide sufficient area for the required number of child restraint systems, if both of the following conditions are met:

(a) At least one child is restrained or seated as required by this section.

(b) The person has secured as many of the other children in child restraint systems pursuant to this section as is reasonable given the restricted size of the passenger area and the number of passengers being transported in the motor vehicle.

I. Before the release of any newly born child from a hospital, the hospital in conjunction with the attending physician shall provide the parents of the child with a copy of this section and information with regard to the availability of loaner or rental programs for child restraint systems that may be available in the community where the child is born.

J. A child restraint fund is established. The fund consists of all civil penalties deposited pursuant to this section and any monies donated by the public. The department of child safety shall administer the fund.

K. The department of child safety shall purchase child restraint systems that meet the requirements of this section from monies deposited in the fund. If a responsible agency requests child restraint systems and if they are available, the department of child safety shall distribute child restraint systems to the requesting responsible agency.

L. On the application of a person to a responsible agency on a finding by the responsible agency to which the application was made that the applicant is unable to acquire a child restraint system because the person is indigent and subject to availability, the responsible agency shall lend the applicant a child restraint system at no charge for as long as the applicant has a need to transport a child who is subject to this section.

M. Monies in the child restraint fund shall not exceed twenty thousand dollars. All monies collected over the twenty thousand dollar limit shall be deposited in the Arizona highway user revenue fund established by section 28-6533.

N. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Child restraint system" means an add-on child restraint system, a built-in child restraint system, a factory-installed built-in child restraint system, a rear-facing child restraint system or a booster seat as defined in 49 Code of Federal Regulations section 571.213.

2. "Indigent" means a person who is defined as an eligible person pursuant to section 36-2901.01.

3. "Responsible agency" means a licensed hospital, a public or private agency providing shelter services to victims of domestic violence, a public or private agency providing shelter services to homeless families or a health clinic.