Bill S1668-2009

Requires certain labeling information on child safety seats regarding compatibility with automobiles

Provides for certain labeling requirements on child safety seats; requires that no seat intended for use by a child less than four years of age shall be sold if it fails to conspicuously disclose on its label a warning of compatibility of the child safety seat with automobiles; provides for enforcement by the attorney general and provides for private right of action for any person damaged by failure of another to follow these provisions; provides for a cap on civil penalties of twenty-five thousand dollars.

Details

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  • Jan 6, 2010: REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
  • Feb 4, 2009: REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S1668

TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the general business law, in relation to providing for notice of compatibility to purchasers of child safety seats

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : The purpose of this bill is to provide consumers with important information regarding child safety seats and their proper use for maximum safety.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : Section 1 of this bill is legislative intent.

Section 2 of the bill would add a new §399-ff to the General Business Law requiring all manufacturers of child safety seats sold in this State to display a label on the packaging of child safety seats. Such label must state that not all child safety seats are compatible with all motor vehicles or seats in motor vehicles. The bill would encourage persons to ensure that the child safety seat is compatible with the vehicle in which it will be used. The label also warns parents to avoid placing child safety seats in the front seat of motor vehicles equipped with air bags.

The Attorney General would be granted the authority to issue an injunction, and enjoin and restrain any violations. Additionally, violations of this section may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars for each violation. Any person who has been injured by a violation of this section would be able to bring a private action to recover damages.

Section 3 would provide that the bill would become effective one year after enactment.

JUSTIFICATION :

Thousands of young children are needlessly injured and many are killed in motor vehicle accidents each year in New York State. The safest method to transport young children when riding in motor vehicles is in a federally approved child safety seat. In 1982, New York State mandated the use of child safety seats for children under four years of age. New York's mandatory child restraint law has demonstrated its value in protecting young children from injuries and fatalities when involved in motor vehicle accidents. It is critical to the children's safety that they are protected in a properly fitting child safety seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that a properly used child safety seat reduces the risk of fatality by 71 percent and the risk of serious injury by 67 percent among children less than five years of age.

Many child safety seats, however, are not used properly. There exists compatibility problems in the design of child restraints that make secure installation of child safety seats in some vehicle seating positions difficult, and occasionally, impossible. Not all child safety seats can be used effectively in all makes and models of cars. An improperly installed child safety seat can reduce its potential benefits and cause injuries and/or death to children using them. It is estimated that over 21 million passenger vehicles on the road are equipped with air bags. Air bags are generally viewed as successful, and according to NHTSA, are responsible for an 11 percent reduction in driver fatalities in passenger cars, including a 30 percent reduction in fatalities in head-on crashes. They are credited with saving more than 1,700 lives since 1986 and preventing many more serious injuries when they began appearing in the U.S. Fleet. This legislation would require manufacturers of child safety seats to provide a label on the container of child safety seats sold in this State that would make consumers aware that certain child restraint devices may be inappropriate for certain automobile makes and models, as well as alert consumers to avoid placing child safety seats in the front seats of motor vehicles equipped with air bags.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2004: Senate Consumer Protection Cmte./Assembly Consumer Affairs Cmte. 2005-06: Senate Consumer Protection Cmte./Assembly Consumer Affairs Cmte. 2007-08: Senate Consumer Protection Cmte./Assembly Consumer Affairs

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.

EFFECTIVE DATE : The bill shall take effect one year after enactment.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1668 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 4, 2009 ___________
Introduced by Sens. FLANAGAN, HANNON, LITTLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to providing for notice of compatibility to purchasers of child safety seats THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings and purpose. The legislature finds and declares that the safest method to transport young children when riding in passenger cars is in a federally approved child safety seat. New York's mandatory child restraint law has demonstrated its value in protecting young children from fatalities and injuries when involved in motor vehicle accidents. It is critical to the children's safety that they are protected in a properly fitting child safety seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that a properly used child safety seat reduces the risk of fatality by seventy-one percent and the risk of serious injury by sixty-seven percent among children less than five years of age. However, the legislature finds that many child safety seats are not used properly. There exist compatibility problems in the design of child restraints that make secure installation of child safety seats in some vehicle seating positions difficult and, occasionally, impossible. Not all child safety seats can be used effectively in all makes and models of cars. An improperly installed child safety seat can reduce its poten- tial benefits and cause injuries and/or death to children using them. Additionally, the legislature finds and declares that consumers should be made aware that certain child restraint devices may be inappropriate for certain automobile makes and models. Therefore, the legislature intends by this act to ensure consumers be provided information concerning the compatibility of child safety seats with the automobiles in which they will be used.
S 2. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 399- ff to read as follows: S 399-FF. CHILD SAFETY SEATS; LABELING REQUIREMENTS. 1. AS USED IN THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: (A) "LABEL" MEANS A DISPLAY OF WRITTEN, PRINTED OR GRAPHIC MATTER UPON THE IMMEDIATE CONTAINER OF ANY CHILD SAFETY SEAT OR IN THE CASE OF A CHILD SAFETY SEAT WHICH IS UNPACKAGED OR IS NOT PACKAGED IN AN IMMEDIATE CONTAINER INTENDED OR SUITABLE FOR DELIVERY TO THE ULTIMATE CONSUMER, A DISPLAY OF SUCH MATTER DIRECTLY UPON THE CHILD SAFETY SEAT INVOLVED OR UPON A TAG OR SUITABLE MATERIAL AFFIXED THERETO. LABEL SHALL INCLUDE A PERMANENTLY AFFIXED OR IMPRINTED NOTICE ON THE ACTUAL CHILD SAFETY SEAT. (B) "CHILD SAFETY SEAT" MEANS ANY SPECIALLY DESIGNED DETACHABLE OR REMOVABLE SEAT WHICH MEETS THE FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS SET FORTH IN 49 C.F.R. 571.213. 2. NO MANUFACTURER, FIRM, CORPORATION, ASSOCIATION OR AGENT OR EMPLOY- EE THEREOF SHALL IMPORT, MANUFACTURE, SELL, HOLD FOR SALE OR DISTRIB- UTION ANY CHILD SAFETY SEAT INTENDED FOR USE BY A CHILD LESS THAN FOUR YEARS OF AGE WHICH FAILS TO CONSPICUOUSLY DISCLOSE ON ITS LABEL A WARN- ING OF COMPATIBILITY OF THE CHILD SAFETY SEAT WITH AUTOMOBILES. 3. ANY CHILD SAFETY SEAT INTENDED FOR USE BY A CHILD LESS THAN FOUR YEARS OF AGE MUST BE LABELED AS FOLLOWS: "ATTENTION: NOT ALL CHILD SAFETY SEATS ARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL MOTOR VEHICLES." 4. WHENEVER THERE SHALL BE A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION, APPLICATION MAY BE MADE BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO A COURT OR JUSTICE HAVING JURISDICTION BY A SPECIAL PROCEEDING TO ISSUE AN INJUNCTION, AND UPON NOTICE TO THE DEFENDANT OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE DAYS, TO ENJOIN AND RESTRAIN THE CONTINUANCE OF SUCH VIOLATION; AND IF IT SHALL APPEAR TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE COURT OR JUSTICE THAT THE DEFENDANT HAS, IN FACT, VIOLATED THIS SECTION, AN INJUNCTION MAY BE ISSUED BY SUCH COURT OR JUSTICE, ENJOINING AND RESTRAINING ANY FURTHER VIOLATION, WITHOUT REQUIRING PROOF THAT ANY PERSON HAS, IN FACT, BEEN INJURED OR DAMAGED THEREBY. IN ANY SUCH PROCEEDING, THE COURT MAY MAKE ALLOWANCES TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH SIX OF SUBDIVISION (A) OF SECTION EIGHTY-THREE HUNDRED THREE OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES, AND DIRECT RESTITU- TION. WHENEVER THE COURT SHALL DETERMINE THAT A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION HAS OCCURRED, THE COURT MAY IMPOSE A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR EACH VIOLATION, BUT IN NO EVENT SHALL THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF SUCH PENALTIES EXCEED TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. IN CONNECTION WITH ANY SUCH PROPOSED APPLICATION, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO TAKE PROOF AND MAKE A DETERMINATION OF THE RELEVANT FACTS AND TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES. 5. IN ADDITION TO THE RIGHT OF ACTION GRANTED TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, ANY PERSON WHO HAS BEEN INJURED BY REASON OF ANY VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION MAY BRING AN ACTION IN HIS OR HER OWN NAME TO ENJOIN SUCH UNLAWFUL ACT OR PRACTICE, AN ACTION TO RECOVER HIS OR HER ACTUAL DAMAGES OR ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, WHICHEVER IS GREATER, OR BOTH SUCH ACTIONS. THE COURT MAY AWARD REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES TO A PREVAILING PLAINTIFF. S 3. This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become a law and shall apply to child safety seats imported, manufactured, sold, held for sale or distributed in this state on and after such effective date.

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