TORRINGTON – For the past couple of weeks, the Wyoming Highway Patrol has displayed a grim, yet inspirational, reminder of the dangers of traffic accidents on Wyoming’s roadway.
The display features Trooper David Motsick’s patrol vehicle after it was involved in a head on collision with another vehicle. Motsick survived, but the other driver did not.
The difference? Trooper Motsick was wearing his seatbelt.
After recovering from some of his injuries, Motsick was awarded a Seat Belt Survivor award during the Border War men’s basketball game in February of 2017. Colonel Kebin Haller and retired Captain Troy McLees presented Motsick with the award.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 47% of passenger vehicle occupants who were not wearing seat belts were killed in crashes.
NHTSA provides a list of the top five things one should know about buckling up: 1. Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect oneself in a crash. 2. Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. 3. Guidelines to buckle up safely. 4. Fit matters. 5. Seat belt safety for children and pregnant women.
“Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers,” as stated on nhtsa.gov. “Being buckled up during a crash helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle; being completely ejected from a vehicle is almost always deadly.”
The safety experts at NHTSA highlight the importance of making sure both the lap belt and shoulder belt fit snuggly across the pelvis and rib cage with the belt away from one’s neck. Many of today’s motor vehicles come equipped with adjustable seatbelt anchors, allowing the driver and passengers to ensure the perfect fit. A vehicle owner’s manual will provide all the necessary information about ensuring the proper adjustment for the best fit.
What about children and pregnant women?
NHTSA and doctors both recommend children and pregnant women use seat belts at all times when in motor vehicles. However, for children who are under the age range of 8-12 years old, a booster seat or car seat is recommended. To determine whether a child should be in a car seat, booster seat or a seat belt, visit nhtsa.gov, your local Child Passenger Safety Technician or local law enforcement.
In Goshen County, residents are fortunate to have a Child Passenger Safety Technician available to help out with car seat installation, fitment and care.
The Manufacturers Alliance for Child Passenger Safety created a checklist presented by the National Child Passenger Safety Certification program. The checklist can be found by visiting cert.safekids.org/get-car-seat-checked and is included below.
Before the Car Seat Checkup
• Be prepared to learn, not just watch the CPS technician install the car seat. They’re trained to teach you.
• Know your child’s current weight and height.
• Using the car seat instruction manual and the vehicle owner’s manual, try to install the car seat into your vehicle prior to your appointment
• Tip! Check the index of your vehicle owner’s manual for “child safety seats.”
• Be sure to bring the car seat instruction manual AND the vehicle owner’s manual with you to your appointment.
• If possible, bring your child with you as well as another caregiver to help while you are learning.
• Be prepared to learn. The CPS Technician is trained to educate you to install and use your car seat properly in your vehicle
During the Car Seat Checkup
• Ask to see proof of your technician’s current certification.
• This one-on-one education typically takes 20-30 minutes, depending on your car seat and vehicle. The technician will take all the time you need until you feel comfortable that your car seat is used and installed correctly.
• During the checkup, a CPS
• Fill out a car seat check form to document the process (including car seat type, location in vehicle, misuse observations, etc.). The form may be electronic or on paper.
• Review car seat selection appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height as well as review factors affecting proper use.
• Review the car seat instruction manual and the vehicle owner’s manual to ensure that both are being followed correctly.
• Ensure that an appropriate seating position in the vehicle is being used.
• Check the car seat for recalls, visible damage and an expiration date.
• Guide your installation of the car seat. You are encouraged to ask to learn how to install the car seat in different seating positions with different installation techniques.
• Discuss the next steps for your child, such as when to move to the next type of car seat.
• Discuss your state laws and best practice recommendations for occupant safety.
• Discuss the benefits of everyone riding properly restrained, including all adults.
• Discuss safety in and around the vehicle.
• Answer any questions you may have, so ask away.
After the Car Seat Checkup
A car seat checkup is considered a success if you can answer yes to the following questions:
• Did you perform the installation?
• Do you feel confident about installing and using the car seat correctly?
• Were your questions answered? If not, were you given direction as to who you should contact, or will the CPS Technician follow up with you?
To schedule an appointment with Geller or to learn more about the program, please call the Torrington Police Department at (307) 532-7001.