• 73°

Buckle those children up

By Fred Duplechin / L’Observateur / November 18, 1998

DEAR EDITOR: During the week of Nov. 23 though 29, Region III Office of Public Healthand more than 1,000 other organizations are giving our endorsement for enforcement to the more than 5,000 law enforcement agencies across the nation conducting the Operation ABC Mobilization: America Buckles Up Children. It is the largest ever coordinated effort by law enforcement toprotect children and we’re proud to be a part of it.

Although only law enforcement officers can write the tickets, we stand firmly behind the lifesaving message each ticket delivers. Region IIIOffice of Public Health is not only an organization, we’re parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who want to protect our children. TheOperation ABC Mobilization is the kind of broad community-based movement our nation needs to save children from the leading cause of death – traffic accidents.

While officers and safety advocates have been educating drivers about the benefits of child safety seats and seat belts for years, the Operation ABC Mobilization takes the next necessary step. It is a serious crackdown ondrivers who place child passengers at deadly risk by leaving them unrestrained.

Many drivers just don’t believe they’ll be in a crash, so they don’t put on their own seat belt or make sure that children are restrained. Thepossibility of being stopped and ticketed is what it takes for many drivers to protect children by always buckling them up.

Stepped-up, high-visibility enforcement of child passenger safety laws is a proven method to save lives. Last Memorial Day, the Operation ABCMobilization got the nation’s attention when tens of thousands of officers hit the streets stopping drivers who failed to properly restrain children.

And its success far surpassed anyone’s highest hopes: Observational surveys conducted before and after the May 1998 Operation ABC Mobilization showed six million Americans buckled up. If these peoplecontinue to to use their seat belts, an estimated 670 loves will be saved each year.

With this kind of success, the Operation ABC Mobilization will continue waves of enforcement across the nation every six months for the next two years. The reason is simple: Every officer would rather write 50 ticketsthan pull one more broken child from a wreck.

We know the Operation ABC Mobilization works. When we support ournation’s law enforcement, we help save lives. Each year, six out of 10children killed in crashes are unbuckled. Last year alone, more than 698children die on state roadways. Tragically, nearly half of these childrenwere completely unrestrained.

As a member of the community Region III Office of Public Health wants to protect all our children.

So this holiday and every day, take the extra time to buckle up yourself and your kids.

Fred DuplechinRegional Administrator Region III Office of Public Health

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

Internet services provided by NeoSoft.

Best viewed with 3.0 or higher