Law enforcement in Walla Walla County will be reminding drivers to buckle up and to drive without distractions during September as summer ends and school is back in session, according to a news release.

“While the majority in Walla Walla County routinely buckle up, we are concerned about the 18% who are not and could be seriously injured in a traffic collision,” said Nancy McClenny-Walters, coordinator for the regional Traffic Safety Coalition, in a news release. Current statewide statistics show an average buckle-up rate of 93% while volunteers for the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Coalition discovered the local use rate is 82%.

Members of the coalition are also working with local law enforcement to encourage parents and caregivers to make sure their children are buckled correctly, remaining rear facing until the upper weight and height limits of the seat and not transitioning from booster to adult seat belts too soon.

The coalition and Children’s Home Society are sponsoring two check up events this month where parents will be able to confirm that their kids are riding safely.

A clinic is set for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at District 4 Fire Station, 2251 S. Howard St. A second event will be held Sept. 23 at Valle Lindo, 133 Farmland Road. from 4-6 p.m.

Area patrols will also be focusing on distracted driving. Overtime funding for the patrols comes from a grant provided from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

The Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office, Walla Walla Police Department, College Place Police Department and Washington State Patrol are participating.

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