Data generated from the Seat Safety initiative raised concerns for children’s safety throughout the territory. The Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety (VIOHS) partnered with Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) across the territory to conduct a pre-Valentine’s Day child safety seat check on Saturday, Feb. 11.
As a result of this free initiative, misuse errors were identified and addressed in 80% of the seats checked on St. Thomas and 89% of those checked on St. Croix. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on the mainland, seat check error rates average 46%. In the territory, all children under age 14 are required to ride appropriately secured in the back seat, and children under age 8 are required to sit secured in an appropriate car or booster seat.
During the events, police stopped motorists with children riding at risk to provide education on child passengers’ safety laws. Citations and advice on steps to safeguard their children were also given to encourage compliance and to hasten corrective actions.
“Our children rely on their caregivers to keep them safe,” said VIPD Commissioner Ray A. Martinez. “Our officers will continue to conduct enforcement activities to support parents in doing right by the children in their care.”
For more information on child passenger safety, to locate a CPST near you. To learn ways to get involved in traffic safety, contact the Virgin Islands Office of Highway Safety through Director O’Neal at email@example.com or Occupant Protection Planner/Coordinator Denise Gomes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (340) 473-7383.