Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Seatbelts and Helmets

I had the pleasure of attending traffic school last night. Yeah, yeah, I did go last year, and it didn’t take. All I can say is that

1. The class was full
2. We were all innocent (overheard from conversations around me)
3. (Learned in class) Our county has government money to target motorists because of excessive fatalities (on the Interstate, which is NOT where I was pulled over). They’ve expanded this to catching anyone two feet over the change in speed limit.

The class wasn’t overly painful, except for the loss of my evening. The “professor” fancied himself a stand-up comic and liberally peppered his presentation with jokes on driving, marriage, and women. His sarcastic jokes on marriage might explain why at 60-ish, he’s never married. I sat unsmiling, the reluctant student, forced to class but unwilling to participate.

Yet, I did pick up a few useful tips and facts that I’ll share with you:

In KY, they can now pull you over for not wearing a seatbelt, and you’ll be fined for each person not wearing a belt in your car. You can, however, legally jump on the back of a motorcycle, no seatbelt, no helmet, and no leather clothing to protect your skin, and careen down the highway at 65 mph. Does this make sense?

Car seats:
In our fair state, children under 40 inches must be in a child safety seat. Good law. Saves lives. Yet, you can take a child, put it on a motorcycle, no helmet, and be perfectly legal. Make sense? You cannot put the child in a dog crate secured in the back of a pick-up truck. (Some deranged fool was pulled over for this. I’m glad to be duly warned.)

Back to seatbelts, a woman angrily asked why her child’s bus had no seatbelts. The instructor, very tell-it-like-it-is, said that belts in a bus make it difficult to remove that number of children quickly from a vehicle, and you can’t count on the children being able to get the belt undone, due to injury or not knowing how. Therefore, no belts make it easier for rescuers to get them out, or for the children themselves to walk out. Self-releasing devises, such as are used in amusement park rides may not work if the vehicle is damaged, nor fit the variety of passengers. And, he added that if he did have children, they’d never see the inside of a school bus.

Though no one there could have been cited for DUI, as you must go to court, they spent a good deal of time on DUI or DWI. Did you know you can be arrested for DUI even if riding a bicycle or horse?

Good Tips:
Finally, here are a few tips I heard for the first time and thought ought to be sent on a postcard to every driver:

1. Car seat: Tape a paper to the back of the car seat with that child’s name, vital information and health insurance written on it. If in an accident you are both injured, that child will be sent to a Children’s Hospital while you are sent to a more general hospital.

2. If you have other children in the car not in a car seat, you should have the same information on paper on your visor, in the glove box or someplace easily noticed, maybe in an envelope marked “In Case of Emergency”.

3. You should have a pair of good scissors in your car for cutting the straps holding in the car seat for quick removal.

4. You should never remove the child from the car seat until medical personnel have examined the child.

5. You should never drive through our county going even a little over the speed limit.


pita-woman said...

It kind of makes you want to follow the instructor while he drives around town, to see if he obeys all the laws.
Well, I guess I'll put that pair of scissors back in my car that I recently removed.
So, I thought once you had attended traffic school, that that was it. After that you had to take the points off of your driving record?

FatcatPaulanne said...

What's the name of that county again? Just in case. ;-)


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