Wednesday, May 16, 2001

State of Hawaii

Cayetano says
he might veto bill
requiring children’s
booster seats

The governor says he's
received phone calls and
e-mail asking for the veto

By Bruce Dunford
Associated Press

Gov. Ben Cayetano may veto a bill that requires Hawaii children younger than 8 to be confined to car booster seats when riding in vehicles, he said yesterday.

"I've had a number of phone calls and some e-mail and letters from people who have three, four or five children and they're concerned about the cost," he said.

Some lawmakers have been contacted by parents who are concerned, including a foster parent who cares for seven or eight children who would be covered, and who urged a veto, Cayetano said.

Cayetano's comments came the same day the National Transportation Safety Board listed booster seats as No. 1 on its top 12 "most-wanted" safety improvements.

The governor noted that the bill was approved in the Senate by a single vote, indicating the measure troubled many lawmakers.

Neighbor island lawmakers argued it would be a hardship for many families who live in rural areas and use pickup trucks for transportation.

As for now, Cayetano said he's "taking a good look" at the measure.

Children younger than 4 years old must now be confined in car seats.

Proponents of booster seats say the seats elevate children so they can safely use the belt and shoulder straps designed for adults.

Last month, the Ford Motor Co. announced a campaign to persuade lawmakers in every state to require booster seats for children who are too big for child safety seats but too small to use adult seat belts alone.

Three states -- Washington, California and Arkansas -- have passed laws requiring booster seats for children age 4-8, and about 20 other states are considering them.

Ford earmarked $30 million in a campaign to encourage parents to use the seats, including giving away 1 million booster seats.

Ford released a survey showing that while 88 percent of caregivers have heard of booster seats, only 21 percent use them.

State of Hawaii

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