Dr. Robert and Patricia Sanders Honored for First COP Law

This article originated in the September/October 2018 issue of Safe Ride News.

Pat Sanders in Murfreesboro, TN
In September 2018, Patricia Sanders, Dr. Robert Sanders’ widow, attended the marker-unveiling ceremony that celebrated the couple’s accomplishments on behalf of child safety.

On September 24, 2018, a historical marker was erected during a ceremony in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that state’s child occupant protection (COP) law, the first such law in the world.  The marker honors the late Dr. Robert Sanders, a pediatrician well known as Dr. Seat Belt, for his role as a driving force prompting the wave of COP laws that spread across the country.  The ceremony was attended by his widow, Patricia Sanders, who is also named on the marker for her involvement in successfully advocating for the Tennessee law.

That very first law required CR use until a child’s third birthday, and it took the Sanders four more years to eliminate a “babes in arms” exception that had been slipped in before passage.  The Sanders’ tireless efforts to protect children continue to serve as an inspiration for efforts to strengthen COP laws.