The Lawrence Police Department and Kansas Highway Patrol will be conducting a traffic enforcement program from Monday to Sunday targeting child passenger safety.
On average, only about 68 percent of Kansas children are buckled in, according to the latest child safety restraint survey by the Kansas Department of Transportation. In 60 percent of fatal traffic accidents in the state, passengers were not wearing seat belts, according to the same survey.
"If you or your children are caught driving while unrestrained, you can expect to be ticketed," said Capt. Steve Zeller, Troop B Commander of the Kansas Highway Patrol, Northeast Kansas.
Lawrence police will concentrate their efforts around all of the schools as they do random enforcement citywide, said Lawrence Police Sgt. Paul Fellers.
"Drivers and passengers should always use proper safety belt equipment in compliance with Kansas statutes," he said.
Citations will be issued for children and adults not properly restrained in their vehicles.
Kansas law requires all passengers under the age of 4 to be in a federally approved child safety seat. Children between ages 4 and 8 must be in a federally approved child safety seat or booster seat unless the child weighs more than 80 pounds or is taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If the child meets those requirements, or if they are between the ages of 8 and 13, they must buckle up like an adult. In the case of unrestrained children, ages birth to 13, the driver is cited and fined $60 plus court costs.
"While we encourage voluntary compliance through education, there is still a need for enforcement," Fellers said.