Motor vehicles can pose significant threats to a child’s health and safety. Children are more prone to serious, life-threatening personal injuries in car accidents than adults. In 2017 alone, 675 children 12 years old and younger died in motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. Thirty-five percent (35%) of these victims were not using child restraint systems. Child restraint systems can mean the difference between life and death for a child in an auto accident. Nevada has a law requiring child restraints for kids under six. While in a taxi, Uber or Lyft, however, the car seat requirement may not apply.
Car Seat Requirements By Law
It is illegal in the state of Nevada to drive a child under the age of six around without securing him or her properly in a child restraint system. Nevada Revised Statute 484B.157 states that any child 6 years old or younger and weighing 60 pounds or less must use a child restraint system while in a moving motor vehicle. The child must use a restraint system that has the Department of Transportation’s safety approval seal, as well as one that is appropriate for the child’s height and weight.
Accepted child restraint systems include booster seats with seat belts, integrated child seats and safety belts. Drivers must follow the instructions on the restraint system and use it properly to comply with the law according to the child’s height and weight. Breaking Nevada’s car seat laws can come with a fine of $100 to $500 or 10 to 50 hours of mandatory community service for a first offense. These penalties increase to fines of up to $1,000 or 100 hours of community service for a second offense, and suspension of the driver’s license for 30 to 180 days for a third offense.
Do I Need a Baby Seat in a Taxi?
An important exception to Nevada’s car seat law exists when using public transportation. Section 7 of the law states that the car seat requirements do not apply to a child riding in a public transportation vessel, including a city bus, school bus, emergency vehicle or taxi. While in a taxi or another form of public transportation, therefore, a parent or guardian is not breaking the law to have the child sit in a regular seat and use a seat belt, even if the child would lawfully need a booster or car seat in a private vehicle. The law does not, however, say anything about Uber and Lyft.
What if I Was Involved in a Car Accident and Didn’t Use a Car Seat?
Negligence laws in Nevada state that any negligence on your part during an accident could reduce the compensation that you receive from a personal injury claim. For example, if investigations find that you were 30% at fault for the accident, your compensation amount is reduced by 30%. However, arguing that a party was negligent due to their failure to follow car seat requirements is not a valid argument to use in a personal injury lawsuit in Nevada. This means that compensation can’t be reduced if the victim didn’t follow the car seat laws. This doesn’t mean that these requirements should be ignored, using a car seat can help prevent serious injuries in case of a car accident.
Uber & Lyft Car Seat Requirements Are a Gray Area
Nevada’s car seat law does not directly refer to ridesharing vehicles. Rideshare is not public transportation, so it is reasonable to assume the car seat laws for private vehicles also apply to Uber and Lyft vehicles. What is not clear is who has the responsibility for the child’s restraint in a rideshare vehicle: the Uber/Lyft driver or the child’s guardian? The most important thing is the child’s safety, so both parties should prepare to transport children under six. Whether or not the law requires it, using a child restraint system could save the child’s life in a rideshare car accident.
When traveling with a small child, the parent or guardian should prepare ahead of time. Many taxi companies offer cars with car seats for a nominal fee. While many Uber and Lyft drivers do not argue with passengers who wish to bring small children without car seats, this is a dangerous practice. Parents can search for a vehicle with a car seat already available through Uber Car Seat in Orlando, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. for a $10 surcharge.
Lyft currently only offers rides with car seats in New York City. Otherwise, the guardian should invest in a portable child restraint system such as a travel vest to bring with them when using public or rideshare transportation. If you get into a car accident with your child in a taxi, Uber or Lyft, discuss your case with a Las Vegas car accident attorney.