Safety seat violations raise concerns over holiday weekend

News 12 @ 11 o'clock/ Sunday, July 6, 2014

(WRDW) --

The holiday weekend is coming to a close tonight, and the numbers are in. Compared to last year, the number of DUI arrests was almost cut in half, in 2013 deputies arrested around forty, this year they only booked seventeen. Thirty were arrested for driving with a suspended license. But this year unveiled a new problem, more than sixty people were cited for child safety seat violations.

Usually, this would just be a warning, but officers say these people had no safety measures for their kids at all, no car seats, no seat belts, no booster seats, and it couldn't be ignored.

Before Ed Gerriff turns on the radio, starts his car or even puts on his own seat belt he does one thing first, he buckles up his kids.

He has two daughters, a two month old and a five year old. When they're in the car, he's always thinking about their safety. "You never know, you could be driving down the road, and accidents happen, you have to look out for other people as well as whats going on," he said.

But Lt. Lewis Blanchard found that wasn't the case for a lot of parents this weekend. "We actually had a two month old that was found in the lap of the person that was driving. And they were also intoxicated," Blanchard said.

Over sixty people were arrested this weekend, all for not having any child safety seat, at all. And a regular seat belt in many situations doesn't cut it. "If you put a child that's not of proper height or weight in a regular seat belt that could actually can do a lot of harm in an accident," Blanchard said.

And that's why Gerriff, always buckles in his girls. "It's very important, it's very important. Her safety comes first," he said.

That's an idea the whole family is on board with. "Especially my oldest she'll let you know, hey you didn't buckle me up!" Gerriff said.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is working with the governor now on a grant to raise more awareness on this issue. They're hoping that education is the key, and more information out there will prevent this in the future. They also want you to know, if you can't afford a car seat, one can be provided for you, if you ask them for help.

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