A call for year-round enforcement of law
Last week, the Kansas Highway Patrol joined Operation ABC Mobilization, which focuses for a week on enforcement of safety belt and child passenger safety laws.
This is a noble cause, and the stepped-up enforcement should not cease just because the Thanksgiving holiday week has passed.
More than 3,500 children involved in motor vehicle crashes on Kansas roads last year were not buckled in, according to the highway patrol.
Traffic accidents remain the leading cause of death in the United States for children ages 5 through 14. Nearly six out of 10 children who die in motor vehicle accidents are not in seat belts or child-safety restraints. In 1999, 29 children under the age of 14 were killed in traffic accidents on Kansas highways. Of those killed, 19 were not restrained.
These are shocking statistics, and each represents a young life cut short. In many of these cases, seat belts or child-safety seats could have made the difference between life and death.
Kansas law enforcement officers should be encouraged year-round to take a tough stance against adults who do not ensure the children in their vehicles are safe.
The state's child-restraint law requires all children under the age of 4 to be secured in approved child-safety seats. In addition, all children under the age of 14, regardless of where they are seated in a vehicle, are required to wear safety belts at all times.
Law enforcement officers may stop and cite drivers when they see a violation of the law and they should be applauded when they do.