Wednesday, 1 August 2012

In-car child protection laws to be hardened

Study shows deaths of under-14s are mainly the result of not using proper protection
MADRID A recent announcement by the Road Safety prosecutor (fiscal), Bartolomé Vargas, says that parents or guardians could lose their guardianship if they are charged at least three times for failing to protect a child according to law. The special prosecutor has said 'instructions will be given' to the traffic authorities so that when a third infraction is committed, the local Road Safety prosecutor is notified. This office will then evaluate the circumstances of the three infractions and appropriate measures will be taken. In case of death of a minor in a vehicle involved in an accident the prosecutor can order an autopsy to determine if death could have been avoided with the proper use of seat belts and/or child car seats. If so, the driver and/or parent could be charged with what in Spaish law is called 'imprudent homicide' or 'imprudent damage'. Prosecution under these circumstances (i.e. criminal) could mean>>>PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ITEMS SUCH AS THIS MAY BE SUBJECT TO SUBSCRIPTION IN THE FUTURE. But you can help us stay free by making a donation through our PayPal facility on the sidebar.

a jail term of one to four years and removal of driver licence for up to six. If it is found that the case is (relatively) minor, the driver faces jail for six months to two years and licence removal for up to four years.

"Criminal prosecution is a last resort," says Vargas, "and it is not a matter of criminalising parents, but rather of insisting that they, the parents, are the first who should be aware of children's road safety."

The Prosecutor also suggsted that parents should be 'volunteers' calling attention to those drivers who travel with inappropriately rwestrained children.

The report Vargas presented at a press conference says that between 2008 and 2010, 46% of traffic deaths of under-14s were because they were not wearing any kind of restraint, and that only 18% of those who did, did so correctly.

The majority, 51%, of children, principally aged from one to two years, would have lived if they had been placed correctly in their car seats.  And 15% of these deaths were because the children had been squashed to death by their mothers' bodies in an accident. In other words, they were in arms and not restrained in any way. Seven out of ten children who died in acidents were not in the center of the back seat, the safest place for a child to travel in a properly installed seat.

Bartolomé Vargas took the opportunity to request cyclists to carry their children safely. In "one hundred out of a hundred" cases of child deaths while cycling happened when the victim was not wearing a helmet. And 69% of accidents involved the adult "riding irregularly", of which 20% was at excesss speed.

The Prosecutor pointed out, too, that current road safety laws are "very permissive", particularly in reference to usban buses and taxis, which in his opinion" should be "absolutely forbidden" to circulate without proper "elements of protection."

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