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Office of Traffic Safety

Occupant Protection

In spite of the great strides made, thousands of young people, from newborns through age 20, continue to die or experience serious injuries that could have been prevented had they been properly restrained in a child safety seat, booster seat, or safety belt. The most recent statewide seat belt survey, conducted in 2015, reports a 97.3 percent seat belt use rate. Seat belt and child safety seat programs continue to focus on statewide and local public information campaigns, increased enforcement, and community education, outreach, and training. More specifically, the programs provide child safety seats to low-income families, conduct child safety seat check ups, and educate teens about using seat belts.

OCCUPANT PROTECTION PROGRAM AREA GOALS

  • To increase seat belt compliance
  • To increase child safety seat usage
  • To reduce the number of vehicle occupants killed under the age of eight
  • To reduce the number of vehicle occupants injured under the age of eight

2015 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Child Passenger Safety Technical Support Program
The Riverside County Department of Public Health (RCDPH), Injury Prevention Services partnered with area police departments within the county to establish Child Passenger Safety (CPS) seat fitting stations, facilitated training of NHTSA-certified CPS technicians, distributed no-cost child safety seats to families in need and provided outreach at community events. RCDPH established new fitting stations at seven local police departments, facilitated child safety seat fitting events, and distributed 273 child safety seats. Partnering police departments included: Lake Elsinore, San Jacinto, Riverside, La Quinta, Moreno Valley, Palm Desert, and Thermal Station. Two CPS technician trainings were held with partner agencies resulting in 27 certified child safety seat technicians and one instructor candidate passing the course. RCDPH participated in five community health fairs and promoted the car seat program to 1,600 Riverside County residents.

Statewide Observational Restraint Usage Surveys
Data collection was conducted at 142 sites across the state and served as the main restraint usage survey for NHTSA and California. The restraint usage rate was 97.3 percent meaning that only 2.7 percent of drivers and front seat passengers were without safety restraints during the Summer 2015 survey. This rate is slightly higher than the 2014 usage rate of 97.1 percent. Also conducted, was the Teen Survey, which was 96 percent and the Child Safety Seat Survey at 94 percent.

Tehama Travels Safe
Partnered with CHP and other local community organizations to promote child passenger safety and bicycle and pedestrian safety throughout Tehama and neighboring counties. Educational efforts included scheduled child safety seat check-up events, community classes, school bike rodeo events, community outreach events, and local community newsletters. The agency distributed 401 child safety seats to needy families, and properly fitted 483 children. They distributed 735 bicycle helmets and 400 bicycle safety reflectors. Twelve technicians received NHTSA-certified CPS Training, and two instructors were trained and certified. In addition, neighboring counties were able to increase their ability to serve their communities due to partnerships and cross county trainings. The program enabled Tehama County Health Services Agency to provide occupant protection education and resources in the county that was needed for many years.