Each of the approximately 80 parents who dropped off their children at Shull David Elementary School recently received a special handout, courtesy of local law enforcement.
Lehighton police officer Derek Solt and Rick Leymeister of the North Central Highway Safety Network handed out information about the Child Passenger Safety Laws now in effect that require vehicle occupants under 18 to wear a seat belt. Drivers are responsible for securing children in the appropriate restraint system.
"PennDOT data for Carbon County shows that in 2011, three people who were killed in crashes were not wearing their seat belts compared to seven in 2010," said Leymeister. He added that most crashes occur within 25 miles of your home.
Both Leymeister and Solt found that all but about five of the parents who dropped their children off were aware of and complying with the law. The pamphlets they were giving out, however, introduced parents to the correct positioning of booster seats for children who have outgrown their forward facing car seat.
According to the information, the seat belt positioning booster seat protects children until they are big enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit correctly. When a child is correctly seated in a belt positioning booster, the vehicle seat belts provide the same level of protection for the child as they do for adults.
Leymeister also found that a few children were riding in the front seat.
"Children need to ride in the back seat so they are not in danger of the air bags going off during a crash," he advised.
All children from birth to age 4 must be secured in an approved car seat anywhere in the vehicle. Violators of this primary law are subject to a fine of $75 plus court costs and other fees. At age 4 and older, but under age 8, children must be secured in a seat belt system and appropriately fitting child booster seat. Violators of these primary laws are subject to a fine of $75 plus court costs and other fees.
At age 8 or older, but under age 18, children must be secured by a seat belt. Violators of their primary law are subject to a fine of $10 and costs.
The seat-belt activities at Shull-David Elementary School were part of the PA Click It or Ticket May Mobilization Campaign. The enforcement began May 21 and continues through June 10. The campaigns are held in the spring and fall.
During this three-week period, law enforcement activities will raise awareness of the Child Passenger Safety Laws that went in effect on Dec. 22, 2011.
Lehighton, Mahoning and Kidder Township police departments will continue seat-belt enforcement activities as part of the national Click It or Ticket enforcement that will be conducted on State Routes 443, 209, 903 and other roadways in Lehighton, Kidder and Mahoning townships.
More than 600 law enforcement agencies and Pennsylvania State Police will participate in this mobilization from May 21 through June 10. An estimated 300,000 students will also be reached through this mobilization and education effort.
The Teen Driver Law, which went into effect last Dec. 27, ushered in changes to young driver licensing and passenger requirements. For the first six months after a teen driver receives their junior driver's license, he or she is not permitted to have more than one passenger under age 18 who is not an immediate family member.
"Wear your seat belt," advised Leymeister. "Your odds of a severe injury are significantly reduced."
For additional information about the Teen Driver Law see the website at www.dmv.state.pa.us and click on New Teen Driver Law 2011.