New laws come with every New Year and in California a fair share of these laws address the growing issues facing drivers and their passengers.

One of these laws specifically concerns the safety of children who regularly travel our highways though not usually behind the wheel. (There are separate laws to handle kids who drive illegally.)

Under the new law children under the age of 8 will now require a booster seat while riding in a vehicle, unless they meet a certain minimum height requirement. The law is meant to ensure that seat belt straps fit properly across the child’s chest, rather than across their neck, which is what happens when they are too low in the seat. If the child is 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least 6 years of age they can forget the booster seat only because the seat belt strap should fit them properly. If the seat belt strap is too high, in the event the vehicle stops short (either because it hit something o if the driver jams on the brakes) the strap could possibly cause a neck injury or even choke the child strapped in.

It is anticipated that the new law will impact more than one million children in California who have been going without a booster seat these past several years. The law was vetoed twice by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who said he believed it was up to the parent to decide whether or not their child needed a booster seat.

But the experts believed differently and research shows they are right.

Under the new law drivers who violate the law face a nearly $500 fine for putting their child at risk. They might also pay more in fines for repeat offenses or flagrant disregard for the law.

California traffic school online can help you learn about the real dangers you face behind the wheel from distracted drivers, drunk drivers and just general roadway hazards. If you are the only one in your vehicle that’s one thing, but when you have kids on board you need to think about their safety too.

And you shouldn’t need a traffic school to tell you it’s important to keep your children safe.

Image: David Castillo Dominici /