PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona lawmakers are considering a bill that would require children to remain in rear-facing car seats until they're two years old.
Michelle Donati from AAA says the proposed law could save children's lives.
"Turning a child from rear-facing to forward-facing too soon is one of the most common mistakes parents and caregivers make when it comes to child passenger safety," Donati said. "When a child is turned from rear-facing to forward-facing too soon, before the age of two in particular, they can sustain head neck and spine injuries in the event of a crash because their bodies are underdeveloped."
The proposed law passed out of the House Transportation Committee this week, facing a single 'no' vote.
Representative Leo Biasiucci, the vice chair of the committee said he voted against the measure, but could be convinced to support it.
"I am 100% in support of rear facing car seats and for the push to make them the standard in design. But I am not OK with the fact that this bill makes it so that if you do not have a rear facing car seat for your child, you can be cited $50 and be forced to go to the courts and show proof that you purchased one," Biasiucci wrote in an email to 3 On Your Side. "I have seen nothing from any government safety agency at the state or federal level stating that front facing car seats are dangerous or need to be replaced for those under two years old. If and when that happens, I will support this bill because the safety of our children should come first."
The bill is scheduled to be heard Wednesday, Feb. 19 in the House Committee on Public Safety.
Fifteen states and Washington D.C. already require children under 2 to remain in rear-facing car seats, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Under current Arizona law, children under the age of 8 or 4 feet, 9 inches or shorter must use a federally approved child safety seat, which includes booster seats for older children.
According to data provided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety to 3 On Your Side, thousands of people break child safety seat laws every year.
In 2018, 4,106 drivers were cited by DPS for child restraint violations. Seventy-one of those citations involved a crash. In 2019 the number of drivers cited for child restraint violations dropped to 3,489. Sixty-five of those citations involved a collision.