Objectives To identify, describe and critique state and local policies related to child passenger safety in for-hire motor vehicles including ridesharing and taxis.
Methods We used standard legal research methods to collect policies governing the use of child restraint systems (CRS) in rideshare and taxi vehicles for all 50 states and the 50 largest cities in the USA. We abstracted the collected policies to determine whether the policy applies to specific vehicles, requires specific safety restraints in those vehicles, lists specific requirements for use of those safety restraints, seeks to enhance compliance and punishes noncompliance.
Results All 50 states have policies that require the use of CRS for children under a certain age, weight or height. Seven states exempt rideshare vehicles and 28 states exempt taxis from their CRS requirements. Twelve cities have relevant policies with eight requiring CRS in rideshare vehicles, but not taxis, and two cities requiring CRS use in both rideshare vehicles and taxis.
Conclusion Most states require CRS use in rideshare vehicles, but not as many require CRS use in taxis. Though states describe penalties for drivers who fail to comply with CRS requirements, these penalties do not actually facilitate the use of CRS in rideshare or taxis. Furthermore, there is ambiguity in the laws about who is responsible for the provision and installation of the restraints. To prevent serious or fatal injuries in children, policy-makers should adopt policies that require, incentivise and facilitate the use of CRS in rideshare vehicles and taxis.
Data availability statement
Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. Not applicable.
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Contributors All authors contributed to design and review of manuscript. ADM designed legal mapping, led policy analysis, and drafted manuscript. AH led implementation of legal mapping with assistance from MRS. Policy conflicts were resolved through conversation first between ADM, AH, MRS and WS and then through conversation with remaining study team. ADM is the guarantor responsible for the content presented here.
Funding This work was supported by the Behavioural Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Programme of the Transportation Research Board (BTS 11-SUB0001549), and a grant from the National Centre for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant number 1R49CE003090).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.