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Child Passenger Safety Week-STEP Mobilization


Feb. 1, 2003 (03-006)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News contact:
Rosalie Thornburgh, (785) 296-3756

Law enforcement agencies across Kansas will continue the fight against unnecessary deaths and injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes targeting children who are riding unrestrained without seat belts or safety seats. The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is promoting Child Passenger Safety Week, Feb. 9-15 by conducting a weeklong law enforcement mobilization.

“When correctly used, child safety seat reduce the risk of fatalities by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars. Along with that, correctly used seats are 69 percent effective in reducing the need for hospitalization,” said Deb Miller, Secretary of KDOT.

During this weeklong mobilization, law enforcement agencies participating in the Kansas Clicks Special Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) sponsored by KDOT will be enforcing the Kansas child passenger safety law by stepping up enforcement efforts. The Kansas Highway Patrol and 77 local law enforcement agencies will increase patrols, conduct public awareness activities and hold safety seat check lanes during the mobilization.

One Kansas Clicks Mobilization was conducted in November 2002 focusing on occupant protection and impaired driving resulting in 5,541 citations being issued. Those citations included 1,335 seat belt violations, 314 child restraint violations, 3,688 speeding violations and 177 DUI arrests.

According to the 2001 KDOT Safety Belt survey, only 61 percent of those surveyed, ages 14 and older use their seat belt. That number decreases to a 52 percent usage rate for children between the ages of 4 and 14, however, 92 percent of children under 4 years of age are secured in a child safety seat. “The Kansas Clicks STEP program will work to raise those numbers by increasing the enforcement of occupant protection laws throughout the state,” said Miller.

Participating agencies include the Kansas Highway Patrol, the police departments of Chetopa, Claflin, Coffeyville, Colwich, Derby, El Dorado, Ellsworth, Enterprise, Erie, Frontenac, Garden City, Garden Plain, Hays, Herington, Hoisington, Holcomb, Holton, Holyrood, Hutchinson, Junction City, Kansas City, La Crosse, Lake Quivira, Lansing, Larned, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Lenexa, Lyons, maize, McPherson, Merriam, Moline, Olathe, Osawatomie, Overland Park, Park City, Parsons, Pratt, Salina, Shawnee, Topeka, Towanda, Waterville, Wellington, Wichita, and Winfield; and the sheriff’s offices in the following counties; Allen, Atchison, Barton, Clay, Crawford, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Greeley, Harper, Hodgeman, Jackson, Johnson, Lane, Lincoln, Marshall, McPherson, Miami, Mitchell, Morton, Osage, Reno, Rooks, Rush, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Sherman, Smith, and Wilson.

For more information on the Kansas Clicks Special Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) please contact Rosalie Thornburgh at the Kansas Department of Transportation – Bureau of Traffic Safety at 785-296-3756.

KDOT is a member of the Governor’s Substance Abuse Prevention Council united in the vision that Kansas communities become places where all children are safe, protected, nurtured, and supported in reaching their fullest potential.