GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY, Wash. - Because motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Montesano Police Departments, joined forces to educate and enforce child passenger safety in Grays Harbor. The Target Zero Task Force received grant funding from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to conduct these specialized patrols.
Phase one of this mobilization involved observational studies to gauge compliance of the law as well as Identify areas within our county where education is needed.
Phase two; educating the public on how to properly restrain children in moving vehicles. This was done by placing public service announcements on television and radio stations, providing schools with current child restraint law literature to send home with students, highlighting the law on live radio with an opportunity for listeners to call in with questions, and the Hoquiam Police Department placed an electronic reader board in their parking lot reminding motorist to properly restrain children.
Phase three: Highly visible overtime patrols focused on finding and correcting children being improperly restrained. During this phase officers were present in a designated school zone daily. Every school zone in Grays Harbor was patrolled and officers walked though school parking lots helping children into their cars and offering to check seats for safety.
The fourth and final phase is another observational study to determine the success of the program.
Chief Dave Pimentel with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office “Child Passenger Safety is a priority in Grays Harbor County. This project began three years ago as a pilot program during which time we have seen a 15% increase in compliance. “