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Archive for Thursday, October 22, 1992

CITATIONS RARE FOR NEW CHILD SAFETY REGULATION

October 22, 1992

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No citations appear to have been issued in Lawrence for violations of a nearly 4-month-old law banning children from riding in the backs of pickups.

Douglas County Assistant Dist. Atty. Frank Diehl said prosecutors had seen no citations pass through their office. And no cases have gone through Municipal Court, because the law hasn't officially been incorporated into city codes.

Police Sgt. Mark Warren said Wednesday that it was safe to assume violations have occurred. However, he said, he didn't believe the safety hazard was a widespread problem.

"As a citizen, I see a little bit of it, but not a lot of it," he said.

The ban was included in changes made by the Legislature to the state's Child Passenger Safety Act. Restrictions that went into effect July 1 banned children under age 14 from riding in or on parts of a vehicle not intended for passenger use, such as the beds of pickups and flatbed trucks, while a vehicle is in motion.

Warren said it wasn't unusual for police to refrain from issuing traffic tickets after a new ordinance went into the books. Normally, he said, officers have issued warnings "to try to make sure people know a new law is in effect."

Warren said that because the ban is a state law, Lawrence police would be able to issue citations that would be prosecuted by the district attorney's office. Normally, Municipal Court handles traffic tickets issued by city police.

But the law isn't officially on the city books, said Diana Crossfield, Municipal Court clerk.

David Corliss, assistant to the city manager, said the Kansas League of Municipalities every year revises its Standard Traffic Ordinances for Kansas Municipalities, which the city adopts as its set of traffic laws.

The new law, he said, was included in the 1992 edition of the Standard Traffic Ordinances, which was adopted by city commissioners in a vote on Oct. 6.

However, he said, the 1992 edition won't go into effect until the ordinance adopting the traffic code is officially published.

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