The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would require teenagers riding in the back seat to wear a seat belt. Eighteen-year-old Isaiah Krull of Shell Rock has been lobbying for this bill for a little over a year.
“I was in a very serious accident,” Krull says, “one that I probably should have died from.”
Krull was riding in the back seat of a car that wrecked on July 27, 2008. “I was in the middle of the back seat, because I was leaning forward, talking to the people who were in the front who had their seat belts on because it is the law,” Krull says.
The roof of the car caved in, Krull’s head hit the roof and his head was crushed. He was in a coma for 10 days. He had to learn to talk, walk and feed himself all over again. He’s been on a crusade to change state law, so buckling up is required for people, like him, who are riding in the back seat of a vehicle.
“You’d better wear it, because I don’t want you to be in as bad an accident as me,” Krull says.
Senator Bill Heckroth of Waverly dubbed the new seat belt requirement for teenagers in the backseat “Isaiah’s Law” in honor of the young man and his lobbying effort.
“Quite honestly, he and I don’t think this bill goes far enough. We think everybody should have to wear ’em, but we know here in the legislature sometimes you have to use the art of compromise,” Heckroth says. “…We really urge your support of this bill so that other young people like Isaiah and their families do not have to go through what Isaiah has had to do.”
The bill passed the Iowa Senate Wednesday afternoon on a 39 to nine vote. Isaiah Krull and his mother, Renee, were in the balcony that overlooks the senate when the vote was taken.
“I am extremely happy,” Krull said afterwards. “I hope the House passes it as well. That way it becomes law.”
A recent survey found only 30 percent of Iowa teenagers wore a safety belt when riding in the back seat. Current law requires children in a vehicle who’re under the age of 11 to be buckled in a child safety seat or wearing a seat belt when the vehicle is moving. If the bill that passed the senate yesterday becomes law, drivers caught with un-belted teenage passengers in their vehicles could be fined 25 dollars.