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"Buckle Up" Week Set 05/11/00

PHONE: 961-2305
MAY 11, 2000


The Hawaii County Police Department has joined thousands of agencies nationwide in “Operation ABC Mobilization: America Buckles Up Children,” declaring zero tolerance for drivers with unbuckled kids.

Starting Monday, May 22, 2000, and leading up to Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, drivers who don’t buckle up children will be stopped and enforcement actions taken.

The National Safety Council estimates that six out of 10 children killed in traffic accidents are unbuckled.

More than 2,000 children die in traffic crashes nationwide each year, making it the leading cause of death for children. Another 300,000 children are injured in crashes.

Acting Lieutenant Randy Apele, head of the Hawaii County Police Department’s Traffic Services Section, said the purpose of the campaign is to increase public awareness that the law requires that young children must be buckled in their seats.

Hawaii’s child passenger law (HRS Chapter 291-11.5) requires that a child under 3 years old must be “properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system approved by the United States Department of Transportation.”

In addition, children 3 to 4 years old must be “properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system approved by the United States Department of Transportation at the time of its manufacture or ensure that the child is restrained by a seat belt assembly.”

Officers will also be stepping up enforcement of adult seat belt laws, because it has been shown that most adults who don’t buckle up themselves, don’t buckle up kids. Recent research finds that an unbuckled driver is three times less likely to restrain a child passenger.

The Operation ABC Mobilization is sponsored by the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is part of an ongoing national initiative to increase belt use and save lives.

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