There are very few issues today that are more important than child safety. As adults, we are responsible for the safety of all children, especially ones in our care. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to remember all laws and common sense about the safety of children.
All occupants within the vehicle must be PROPERLY restrained especially children and are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt Law. Current California law states that children under the age of 2 shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. Children under the age of 8 must be PROPERLY restrained in a car seat or booster chair in the back seat. Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height MUST be secured by a safety belt.
California Laws do not fully address advancing your child from a five point harness to a booster seat. In the interest of safety, do not hurry to move your child into a booster seat before they are ready. When moving your child into the next type of seat there is a reduction in the level of protection for your child; so to ensure your child is safe, keep your child in each stage for as long as possible.
Quick Checklist for Visible Errors
- Child riding unrestrained or sharing a safety belt
- Child Riding in front seat.
- Child under the age of 2 facing front of the car
- Placing a rear facing child seat in front of an air bag
- Harness is too loose or not on the child’s shoulders
- Chest clip is over the child’s tummy instead of chest
- Safety seat not installed correctly
- Shoulder belt under arm or behind back
- Shoulder belt too close to child’s face (indicating need for booster seat)
5 Step Test to see if your child is Booster seat ready
- Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
- Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
- Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
- Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, your child needs a booster seat.
If you have any questions, doubts or concerns with the installation or condition of your child’s safety seat contact the Traffic Office.
Do you make sure your children are seat belted? Last year, 4,000 unbuckled children under the age of 16 lost their lives in traffic accidents.
School Bus / Zones:
You must STOP when you see a school bus flashing red lights, warning you of possible children crossing the road. All too often, people will slow, and then proceed, which is illegal. Always be mindful to drive extra carefully around any school or in neighborhood where children may dart into the road.
All bicycle riders and passengers under age 18 must wear bicycle helmets while operating a bicycle in a public place. The helmets must be properly fitted and fastened.
Traffic officers do not drive around aimlessly hoping to come across someone violating the law. Just like other crimes, we will sometimes focus our enforcement around problem areas or intersections that have an unusually high accident rate. Depending on the problem, we may implement one of the following programs:
This is perhaps one of the most well known of enforcement techniques. Radar technology can accurately measure the speed of an on-coming car. Occasionally, we will use a speed trailer (a trailer that flashes the speed to on-coming cars) to inform drivers of their speed as a sort of a warning, and no citations are issued. We often use the speed trailer when we get a complaint about speeders in a specific area to see if the area warrants a radar enforcement program. If there are a lot of speeders, we will implement a radar enforcement program on a street to break a pattern of people speeding on the street.
DUI / Seatbelt / Car Seat Checkpoints
Sometimes, you might see something that looks like a road block ahead. Drivers must slow down and pass officers slowly so they may look inside your car to ensure seatbelt and car seat compliance, or stop if an officer suspects that a driver of a car had been consuming alcoholic beverages. DUI (Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol) and failure to wear seat belts and utilize car safety seats cause thousands of people to lose their lives each year. Further, unlicensed drivers are involved in a high number of collisions, and most of them are not insured as well. These drivers keep insurance rates high for everyone and are unsafe drivers as well. The law requires that we impound vehicles that are being driven by unlicensed drivers to protect everyone!
Have you ever noticed that more and more drivers ignore pedestrians in crosswalks because everyone seems to be in a hurry these days? We have too. So occasionally, we will have “undercover” officers pose as regular pedestrians and attempt to cross the street at a crosswalk or at an intersection, where pedestrians have the legal right-a-way. If a driver fails to stop for the pedestrian, or worst yet, makes the pedestrian stop or move back to avoid a collision, the driver is stopped and cited. So many of these cited drivers claim that they never saw the pedestrian or were on their cellular phone…both poor excuses for nearly hitting someone.
School Education Program
Pasadena Police Traffic Officers have regular traffic safety and education programs in our local high schools, both private and public. The focus of these classes is to better prepare young drivers for their first experiences on the road. The Pasadena Police Department recognizes that teenage drivers are 4 times more likely to get into a traffic accident than adult drivers and we want to do our part in reducing that chance.
Our officers will also do a traffic safety presentation at any school that requests one, including elementary school. The Pasadena Police Department recognizes the strong, positive influence an officer in uniform can have on young people and would like to use that influence in a positive way to encourage young children to be careful when crossing the street, wear their seat belts, and wear their helmets when riding a bicycle.
“Every 15 Minutes…”
A very moving program for young adults, known as the “Every 15 Minutes” program is offered to local high schools to warn of the dangers of drunk driving. This program covers three days, but lasts a lifetime in the participants memory. On day 1, a student is taken from class “every 15 minutes”, which represents the number of teenagers killed each year across the nation as a result of drunk driving related collisions. The students are hidden away until the end of the program. The patents of each student are notified by the police that their child was randomly chosen as a student who was killed. Even though it is a simulation, it has a devastating effect on the family. Over the remaining two days of the program, the other students and families learn a little of what it would be like to lose a loved one to a drunk driver. There is an actual memorial service in the auditorium which is the final part of the program. The program has been very successful across the nation in making a profound impact on all involved and bringing the number of alcoholic related collisions to participants way down. The program is costly to run, but is supported by various organizations around Pasadena.
The Traffic Section offers Bicycle Safety Programs for children, including giving away free bicycle helmets for participants. The program takes the form of a “rodeo”, with special obstacle courses and off road riding to improve one’s skill and safety awareness.
The Pasadena Police Department Wants To Inform You Of The Dangers Regarding Drunk Driving
One of the most tragic events that occur all too often is a drunk driving related collision. It is all the more tragic because it is totally avoidable for the careless person who chooses to drink and drive.
The Pasadena Police Department has a very aggressive enforcement stance on Drunk Drivers. If you have been drinking and choose to drive, you will go to jail!
Some of our programs include:
- Sobriety Checkpoints
- Proactive Driving while Under the Influence (DUI) Patrols
- DUI Task Force Operations w/Bordering Agencies
- DUI Cost Recovery Programs (You will be charged for all activities related to your Drunk Driving arrest/accident.
Over 5,000 California teens are injured or killed each year due to alcohol related accidents. Don’t let another family ask why their loved one was killed because someone choose to get behind the wheel after a few drinks.
What To Do If You Encounter A Drunk Driver On The Highway
If you should suspect someone of being a drunk driver on the road, stay away from them. You never know when they might do something unexpected! If you have a cellular phone, dial 911 and notify the local authorities. They will ask for your location, direction of travel, and a description of the suspected vehicle. If you do not have a cellular phone, you may want to consider making a few mental or written notes about the driver in case you hear of a hit and run accident occurring in the general area that may have involved the suspected vehicle. Most importantly, take care of your own safety and drive carefully, avoiding driving too close to the suspect driver.