The governor signed a bill into law today that will soon require all children under the age of 18 to wear a seatbelt while riding in the back seat of a car. Current law only applies to kids up to the age of ten. The Governor signed the bill at Blank Children’s hospital in Des Moines where he was joined by hospital president David Stark.
“We see firsthand, unfortunately, the affects of kids who don’t wear seat belts,” Stark said, “We see it in our emergency departments, we see it in our clinics, we see it in our therapy. And we would love nothing more than to avoid seeing that going forward. This bill will save lives.”
Stark says nearly half of all teenage deaths in Iowa result from car accidents which is why the hospital and child safety advocates have pressed for this law for nearly ten years. Eighteen-year-old Isaiah Krull of Shellrock was seriously injured in a car accident two years ago while riding from one field to another during detassling. Krull was in the back seat and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Since then he has lobbied hard to strengthen Iowa’s seatbelt law.
“I’m extremely pleased. I worked for like a year on this bill,” Krull says, “But I don’t think this should be it. I think it should be for everybody. But I’m happy it’s just for teenagers.” Krull says he will continue to press state lawmakers to eventually mandate back seat seatbelt use for everyone. Authorities say parents who have more kids than seatbelts will not be ticketed. The new restrictions begin July 1st.