Susan Doyle, the Johnston County District Attorney has announced a new program aimed at making sure young children are safe when they climb into the family car.
Young children have to be in car seats or booster seats – that’s the law. But, Doyle notes that many drivers either don’t know how to properly install child restraints or simply don’t bother to put their children in the restraints.
The DA’s office has partnered with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the chiefs of all local law enforcement agencies to implement a plan to make sure children are safe when they are on the highway. And, they’ve implemented the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
The program teaches drivers how to use car seats or booster seats correctly. The program also stresses the importance of making sure children 8 years old and younger or who weigh less than 80 lbs are always in child safety restraints.
She notes that there are problems with the current law. If a driver receives a citation for not having young passengers in safety restraints all the driver has to do is show up at court with a car seat and the citation is dismissed. National statistics show that many cited motorists who bring child safety seats to court do not reinstall them in their vehicles once their cases are dismissed. Sometimes, she said, the child safety seats are not installed properly.
The Child Passenger Safety Diversion Project allows motorists who are issued citations for child restraint violations in Johnston County to have their citations dismissed if they visit a safety seat checking station to learn how to use the restraints. There are checking stations at the Selma Fire Department and Johnston County Partnership for Children, 1406 S. Pollock St., Selma. If the driver brings the car seat and child to a checking station the driver will get instructions on how to properly secure the child and car seat in their vehicle. The driver then receives a certificate from the checking station to present to the District Attorney’s Office. There are no fines to pay if the child safety seat citation is dismissed.
Doyle says the effort will be beneficial for children and their parents.
“A child who dies on our roadways from not being properly restrained is 100 percent preventable. I am hopeful that bringing this program to Johnston County will put an end to these senseless deaths by educating parents about the importance of properly restraining their children in any moving vehicle,” Doyle said.