As state motorists prepare for upcoming summer travel, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) reminds them of the simplest step in keeping their families safe: Buckle up.The national …
As state motorists prepare for upcoming summer travel, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) reminds them of the simplest step in keeping their families safe: Buckle up.The national “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign takes place May 22 through June 4, concurrent with Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends of the year.
“It’s more than just putting your own seat belt on in the car,” said Cesi Velez, project manager of Washington’s Child Passenger Safety Program. “It means making sure everyone else in your car is properly restrained, especially children.”
During the Click It or Ticket campaign in Clallam and Jefferson counties, the Port Angeles, Port Townsend and Sequim police departments, the Clallam and Jefferson county sheriff’s offices, and the Washington State Patrol are placing special emphasis on the proper use of seat belts and child restraints.
Motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of unintentional death among children.
From 2011 to 2015, almost half (48 percent) of child fatalities caused by a vehicular collision had undetermined or no restraint use.
While 15 percent of those children were younger than 13 years of age and illegally riding in the front seat, 21 percent were riding without a booster and restrained only by a lap or shoulder seatbelt.
WTSC’s message is that the majority of these tragedies likely could have been avoided, had these children been properly restrained
However, WTSC officials conceded that Washington’s current child passenger safety law can be difficult to interpret.
Washington’s child passenger safety law (RCW 46.61.687) states:
• Vehicle occupants of any age must be “properly” restrained.
• Occupants younger than age 8 or under 4 feet 9 inches tall must ride in an appropriate car safety seat. The seat must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Occupants age 8 or older or those taller than 4-foot-9 must use the seat belt correctly or continue using a child safety seat.
• Occupants younger than age 13 must ride in the back seat “where it is practical to do so.”
Safety advocates strongly encourage a child to remain facing the rear in their child restraint until at least age 2. Research shows this provides them with the best protection of their spine, neck and head.