Washington State Patrol troopers will focus their attention this Memorial Day weekend on seat belt and child safety seat violations.
"When violence hits the schoolyard and children die, we hear a national outcry," Trooper Lance Ramsay said. "Why do we not hear similar community outrage about the more than 2,000 children who die in traffic crashes each year?
"Clearly, the most dangerous place we take our children is in the family vehicle. Traffic crashes, in fact, remain the number one killer of children ages 6 to 14," he said.
Sixty percent of children who die in traffic crashes are unrestrained, and half of them would have survived if they’d been properly restrained, he said. The patrol, along with city and county law enforcement agencies across the state, is joining Operation ABC Mobilization: America Buckles Up.
It’s the largest-ever nationwide crackdown on motorists who don’t buckle up and don’t ensure their children are in proper child-safety restraints, Ramsay said.
In addition to troopers on routine patrol, some will work extra shifts to catch drivers who don’t obey traffic safety laws.
The patrol participates in such programs because they work, Ramsay said. Child traffic deaths have declined 17 percent since the Mobilization programs began three years ago.
In Washington state, 22 unrestrained children died in 1999 in crashes, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Also that year, 263 unrestrained adults died .