(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person operation a motor vehicle on a public highway in the Territory shall transport a child under four years of age except under the following circumstances:
(1) if the child is under three years of age, the person operating the motor vehicle shall ensure that the child is properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system approved by the United States Department of Transportation at the time of its manufacture; or
(2) if the child is three years of age or older but less than four years of age, the person operating the motor vehicle must either ensure that the child is properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system approved by the United States Department of Transportation at the time of its manufacture or ensure that the child is restrained by a seat belt assembly.
(b) Operators of the following motor vehicles shall be exempt from the requirements of this section: an authorized emergency vehicle while on duty, and a bus, including a school bus, whether publicly or privately owned, which provides service to the general public or provides special service on a regular or continuing basis. Further exemptions from this section may be established by the Commissioner of Public Safety pursuant to rules adopted under the Administrative Procedures Act, 4.1001 et seq.
(c) This section shall not apply if the number of persons in a vehicle exceeds the greater of the following:
(1) the number of seat belt assembles available in the vehicle; or
(2) the number of seat belt assembles originally installed in the vehicle; provided that all available seat belt assembles are being used to restrain a passenger, and those children not restrained by an approved child passenger restraint system to a seat belt assembly are in the back seat of the motor vehicle.
(d) In no event shall failure of a child under the age of four years to be restrained or failure to restrain such a child in a child passenger restraint system or a seat belt assembly be considered as contributory negligence, comparative negligence, or negligence per se.
(e) Penalty: for the first offense, the fine shall be $25, second offense, $50, and third or more, $75.History: 1988, PL 20-79.