The process of making a law starts with a member sponsoring a bill to the House of Representatives whereby the committee members discuss it and vote on it. Upon approval, the bill proceeds to the full house for merit examination, in which case it may be approved and sent to the Senate. If rejected, it is sent back to the committee or abandoned completely. Upon approval by the Senate, it is sent to the governor to sign it into law (Guyer, 2013). However, the governor may veto the bill and send it back to Congress, where it is either amended to fit the governor’s liking, the congress overrides the governor’s veto or is dropped completely.
Children safety problems exist throughout the Massachusetts state as well as the country given the number of children casualties admitted in the ER after motor vehicle accidents. Further, as for all vehicles, a legislation should be passed in the State of Massachusetts to strengthen children safety in both public and private transport systems now and into the future. A case in point is an incident whereby a driver tried to park his SUV using the side and rear view mirrors but went over a bump, which happened to be his neighbor’s 2-year-old son. The child suffered serious leg injuries which led to amputation. More such cases have been reported in various states thereby raising concerns over children safety.
The existing law requires drivers to properly secure all children aboard the vehicle to avoid them from injury in case of an accident. It is thus a crime to violate such a code. Therefore, a bill to ensure that all vehicle drivers embrace life-saving improvements, such as seat belts, backup warning devices, and child passenger restraint system, CRS should be presented to the house committee for legislation.
Upon canvassing with members of the community and collecting over 2,000 signatures from registered voters, the proposal is presented to the state legislature representative, Mr. Thomas Jones, who is also a parent in the school district. In their study, Anund et al. (2003) focused on legal protection of children as passengers in cars. They recommended in safety improvements in cars for children through safety devices, such as child restraint systems. Additionally, NHTSA observed that motor vehicle crashes were the major causes of children deaths in the country. Use of seat belts was found to reduce the risk of fatal and serious injuries by 71 percent while booster seats reduced fatalities by 45 percent (CDC, 2014).
Similar legislations have been passed in California and Michigan whereby the Californian vehicle code requires drivers to secure children under 8 years with a CRS when on a highway. In Michigan, the CRS and seat belts are mandatory for all children as stipulated by the Senate Bill 1135 (2014). The code mandates drivers to position children in the CRS in a rear seat according to their weight and height.
If the bill is passed, it would save drivers, insurance companies, and victims the financial cost of hospital bills and treatments expenses. The costs to hospitals and health care centers are not estimated since there are inadequate fixed ratios. However, prevention of these type of accidents through safety measures would see a cut in the state health care budget by $35 million annually. This bill enjoys support from various stakeholders, such as the Consumers Union which has been repeatedly asking the House of Representatives to enact child safety measures in bills to protect children from highway accidents. Other stakeholders who seek to support and fund the bill include large and small healthcare business, the Massachusetts community, caregivers, patients, the state nursing association, child safety lobbyists, and the local authorities.
However, the House of Representatives is contemplating dropping the bill in favor of the Highway Bill. The Highway Bill does not put into consideration the weight of the matter as to address the magnitude of the problem caused by vehicle blind spots thereby requiring backup warning devices, seat belts and child restraint system to avoid children fatalities. Due to the vehicle blind spots, more children will continue to be run over thus the House of Representatives should step forward and address the problem by supporting this piece of legislation.
An appointment with Mr. Jones, the representative to the state legislature would lead to various recommendations from the Community preventive Services Task Force to make seat belts, child restraint systems, and backup warning devices as well as education programs to assist in reducing deaths and injuries to children associated with motor vehicles whether as passengers or pedestrians. However, the legislation is a milestone in child safety, some improvements would be recommended to ensure that children are optimally protected in and around the motor vehicles.
The House and Senate should ensure that all vehicles should have a general visibility standard to allow drivers to see and sense any children around the vehicle using backup warning devices. The safety requirements in vehicles should be improved to reduce the impacts of side crashes to passengers. In case of roll-over crashes, the roofs of the vehicles should be strong and safe enough to protect the occupants of the vehicle in addition to built-in CRS to protect children from tragedies emanating from poorly-fitted installation systems.