Safety blitz: Let enforcement raise our awareness

We all know what to do.

And what not to do.

Law enforcement will be, well, enforcing, what is common knowledge when it comes to vehicle and passenger safety.

n DO wear your seat belt

n DO install and use appropriate child safety devices

n DO NOT text and drive.

n DO NOT use your cellphone while driving.

We see it everywhere; a few times each year officers, deputies and troopers get truly serious about enforcing it.

Because smartphones can encourage dumb behavior.

This month, on the roads, Hood River Police Department will be working in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation and other local agencies in conducting a traffic safety belt blitz campaign, May 19 to June 1. The point of the enforcements is not to dun people for tickets but to raise awareness of the problem.

Most of us adhere to these laws, but enough people in our culture do not, and so vigilance is in order. It’s up to the authorities to issue tickets and warnings, but the rest of us can redouble our attention to keeping cellphones out of view, and to counseling your young people to do the same.

As a community, we can support education and outreach promoting child safety.

This month’s enforcement emphasis will be on proper seat belt and child safety seat use.

Officers will also be looking for distracted drivers who are texting and using their cellphones as well as speeders.

Under Oregon law, a child weighing less than 40 pounds must be properly restrained in a child safety seat. A child under 1 year of age or weighing less than 20 pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing child seat. A child over 40 pounds but under age 8 or less than 4 feet 9 inches tall must be restrained in either a child seat with harness system or in a booster seat that raises the child up so that a lap and shoulder belt system fit correctly. Correct fit is the same as described for an adult.

A statewide observation survey in June 2013 found 98 percent of Oregon’s motoring public using safety belts, making Oregon one of the two highest belt use states in the country. Consistent vehicles restraint use is the single most effective way to protect motor vehicle occupants from crash injury or death, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

There will be a higher number of police officers on patrol during these enforcement periods.

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