“The Pell City Police Department is working with the community to reduce holiday accidents and crime within the community,” Pell City Police chief Greg Turley said.
Turley said nationwide travel service AAA expects an 11.4 percent increase in automobile travel compared to 2009, with approximately 42.2 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home.
“This translates into a greater potential for vehicle accidents and homes being left unoccupied,” he said.
Turley said the shopping season also allows for a greater potential for identity theft, vehicle break-ins and theft itself.
“With 84 percent seatbelt use nationwide, this is a proven means to save lives,” he said. “Pell City officers will be looking for seatbelt usage as they patrol for impaired and dangerous drivers over the holiday season.”
Turley said that one of the most important things parents can do is ensure that all children are appropriately restrained during their holiday trips.
“Because of longer drive times associated with holiday travel, parents are tempted to hold infants and allow the younger children to stand and play in the vehicle,” he said. “That can be a deadly choice.”
Turley said the state’s child-restraint law mandates seatbelt use for children between the ages of 6-14, regardless of seating position. The state requires a rear-facing infant seat for children from birth until one years old and less than 20 pounds. Parents must secure children between ages 1-4 or 20-40 pounds in a forward-facing car seat, while children through age five need to ride in a booster seat.
Turley said the police department will use checkpoints on secondary roads to look for sobriety, equipment (tags, lights, etc.) and proper seatbelt and car seat usage.
“We will hold those checkpoints the week of Thanksgiving,” he said.
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