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news release

Contact: Rae Hutton
RELEASE: September 6, 2001

DiFrancesco Signs Legislation
Making New Jersey's Child Passenger
Protection Laws Strongest in the Nation

Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco signed legislation today requiring children under the age of eight or weighing less than 80 pounds to be secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat while riding in a car. New Jersey is the first state in the country to require children up to the age of eight to ride in a booster seat.

"This legislation will make New Jersey's child passenger restraint laws the strongest in the nation. Modeled after federal guidelines and recommendations concerning the use of child restraint systems, A-539/S-1181 will improve highway safety for our children. It provides no exemptions and no exceptions. When it comes to our children's safety, there are no excuses," said the acting Governor.

Starting in December, children who are under the age of eight and weigh less than 80 pounds will be required to be secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat in the rear seat of a motor vehicle. Booster seats are designed to improve safety by raising a child up so that adult lap and shoulder belts fit better.

The new law also requires children over the age of eight or weighing more than 80 pounds and under the age of 18 to wear a seatbelt at all times while riding in a vehicle.

After the acting Governor signed A-539 he presented the Lopez family from Mercer County with a free booster seat provided by the Boost America Program. This program is distributing 5,000 booster seats to low-income families throughout New Jersey. Under the provisions of the program, participating Ford dealers, program partners and other organizations are distributing vouchers which can be redeemed for one booster seat. To be eligible for a free booster seat, family income cannot exceed twice the poverty level.

"So far, more than 5,500 Boost America coupons have been redeemed in New Jersey alone. Coupled with the legislation I signed today this campaign will help stress the importance of booster seats for our children's safety," said DiFrancesco.

A-539 is sponsored by Senators John Matheussen (R-Camden/Gloucester) and Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) and Assemblymen Ken LeFevre (R-Atlantic) and Frank Blee (R-Atlantic).

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