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Archive for Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Buckle up for safety - and to avoid tickets

Police increase seat-belt law enforcement around schools

August 22, 2006

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Christopher Conway, a first-grader at Cordley School, left, straps himself into a booster seat after being picked up after school by his mother Kristie Conway, Lawrence, and his brother Dallas. Lawrence Police are keeping an eye on school zones to help ensure traffic safety and to enforce safety-belt and child-restraint regulations.

Christopher Conway, a first-grader at Cordley School, left, straps himself into a booster seat after being picked up after school by his mother Kristie Conway, Lawrence, and his brother Dallas. Lawrence Police are keeping an eye on school zones to help ensure traffic safety and to enforce safety-belt and child-restraint regulations.

Kennedy School principal Felton Avery said he often sees children not wearing a seat belt when getting a ride home.

"I have seen - on a regular basis - kids not strapped in," he said at the school, 1605 Davis Road.

But as the school year gets under way, Lawrence Police said they would be doing extra traffic enforcement in school zones to watch for safety-belt and child-restraint violations as well as for speeders. Drivers can be stopped and cited if a child passenger under 14 is not wearing a seat belt, and a new state law, effective July 1, requires children up to age 7 to ride in a booster seat- something that's easier to forget or to brush off if the drive to school is a short one.

"People are usually traveling only a mile to get to school," said Jeff Halloran, project director of the Kansas Safety Belt Education Office and spokesman for a state traffic safety campaign. "They're only going to be in the car for 60 seconds or 2 minutes. They don't think anything is going to happen."

The issue of traffic safety around schools was in the spotlight earlier this year when a kindergartner at Prairie Park School, 2711 Kensington Road, was struck by a vehicle and died from the injuries.

Jan Hurst, crossing guard at Cordley School, guides students across the intersection at 19th and Vermont streets in front of a row of parents waiting in their cars to pick up their children from school. Lawrence Police are keeping an eye on school zones to help ensure traffic safety and to enforce safety-belt and child-restraint laws.

Jan Hurst, crossing guard at Cordley School, guides students across the intersection at 19th and Vermont streets in front of a row of parents waiting in their cars to pick up their children from school. Lawrence Police are keeping an eye on school zones to help ensure traffic safety and to enforce safety-belt and child-restraint laws.

Lawrence Police Sgt. Randy Roberts, head of the department's seven-person traffic unit, said officers would be paying extra attention to school zones. He said the department enforces school zones across the city equally, unless there are concerns raised by residents in a given neighborhood.

In Lawrence, each school has its own set of traffic issues.

At Quail Run, 1130 Inverness Drive, staff members are assigned to help students cross the street at Oak Tree Drive - a crossing that's often used by students but doesn't yet qualify for a city crossing guard.

"I do worry about kids being in the neighborhood after they leave the school grounds. That's probably my biggest concern right now," principal Paulette Strong said.

When traffic gets backed up around West Junior High School, 2700 Harvard Road, where construction is under way, principal Myron Melton said he worried about children who were walking to school because they tend to run between the slowed cars.

"With all the construction, traffic hasn't been as much of as an issue as I had anticipated it being," he said. "So far, it's gone fairly well."

At Cordley School, 1837 Vt., the mantra is "Go south." Principal Kim Bodensteiner hands out bright orange fliers urging parents to drive south on Vermont Street when they're dropping off children so that they don't have to walk across a lane of traffic.

Cordley parent Kristie Conway said one concern at the location is that KU students driving through the area might not be as alert as other drivers to the school zone signs.

"I don't believe it's as important, sometimes, to those kids as it is being a parent," she said.

Comments

prioress 8 years, 3 months ago

Good move; keep it up and save some lives.

Confrontation 8 years, 3 months ago

I know that using booster seats is a good idea. However, I bet I would have been really embarassed as a 7 year old stuck in a booster seat. I guess it won't be that bad if your friends are forced to do the same.

estespark 8 years, 3 months ago

But there will always be that 1 'cool' kid who has 'cool' parents that don't strap him to a booster.

conservative 8 years, 3 months ago

Actually most kids don't even think twice about being in a car seat. Simply because they've never ridden any other way. My nine year old still rides in one, both because he likes the extra height to see out, and because he is below the height and weight limits of the booster. Now if he came to me and asked not to have to ride in it I'd let him, but if it's not an issue for him or his friends why should i take the extra protection away?

mom_of_three 8 years, 3 months ago

My kids were out of car seats and booster seats by the time they were 4 years old. But we didn't have all the restrictions then, and they were never allowed to ride in the front seat, until they were 12 and/or taller than me. (which happened between the ages of 11 and 12).
I am glad mine are old enough I don't have to worry about it.

classclown 8 years, 3 months ago

"I am glad mine are old enough I don't have to worry about it."

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One word. Grandchildren.

areyoukidding 8 years, 3 months ago

i'm suprised that nobody caught that kids have to be 8 years old and not 7 years old like the article states. it's 8 years or 80 pounds...way to go LJ world

Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Now if the LPD will set speed traps daily in school zones...morning ans afternoon. Forget about 2100 block of Mass. If officers need to get caught up on paper work...go sit in a school zone.

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