KITSAP COUNTY — There’s no good time to drink alcohol and drive simultaneously. It’s especially bad to violate the driving law from May 22 through June 4, when the national “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign takes place.
The campaign run is concurrent with Memorial Day, one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends of the year.
During the Click It or Ticket campaign in Kitsap County, the Port Orchard Police and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office will join with police departments in Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Naval Base Kitsap, Poulsbo and Suquamish, and the Washington State Patrol in placing special emphasis on seat belt and proper child restraint use.
Motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of unintentional death among children, said Cesi Velez, project manager of Washington’s Child Passenger Safety Program.
“It’s more than just putting your seatbelt on in the car,” Velez said. “It means making sure everyone else in your car is properly restrained, especially children.”
From 2011-2015, almost half, or 48 percent, of child fatalities caused by vehicular collision had unknown or no restraint use. Fifteen percent of those were under 13 years of age and illegally riding in the front seat. Twenty-one percent were riding without a booster and were restrained only by a lap/shoulder seatbelt.
Velez said the majority of these tragedies likely could have been avoided had these children been properly restrained. Children under the age of 8 or 4-foot, 9 inches tall must ride in an appropriate car safety seat that’s used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Those ages 8 or taller than 4-foot, 9 inches must use the seat belt correctly or continue use of a child safety seat. And children younger than 13 must ride in the back seat “where it is practical to do so,” according to Washington’s child safety law.
Safety advocates strongly encourage a child to remain rear-facing in the child restraint until at least age 2. This practice will provide them with the best protection of their spine, neck and head, Velez said.