Failing to wear a seatbelt is a crime just about everywhere in the world, but these violations are much more serious when children become endangered due to the poor decisions of a driver.
According to RT.com, a 27-year-old Western Australian man was recently ticketed after police pulled him over for a routine traffic stop. Upon questioning the driver, police were shocked to find that he had cases of beer secured in his car with seatbelts — yet several children in the vehicle were not strapped in.
Broome Police pulled the man over on the Great Northern Highway around noon last Wednesday, April 6, when they made the startling discovery. More than one child, including a baby less than a year old, were seated on the laps of passengers and in the car’s foot wells while the seatbelts were used to secure cases of beer.
The driver, who has not been identified by name, was charged with “no authority to drive and failure to restrain a child.” Despite the alarming nature of this crime, Kimberley District Superintendent Allan Adam said that these types of problems are common in Western Australia.
“[We do have] problems up here in the Kimberley,” Adam said. “It shows some of the attitudes of some of our road users in the way they see their priorities.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that drivers ages 18 to 34 are less likely to wear seatbelts than their older peers, and men are 10% less likely to wear seatbelts than women. Young men seem to be driving more negligently than ever, and the current climate of avoiding wearing seatbelts in Western Australia can compound this poor decision-making.
Furthermore, Australia has one of the biggest problems with proper seatbelt usage in the entire world. According to the Queensland Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, approximately 20% of Australian drivers and passengers killed in car crashes each year were not wearing a seatbelt.
As for the beer-toting man from Broome, Superintendent Adam added that his jurisdiction has growing concerns with a recent increase of other traffic violations, including drivers with suspended licenses.
Many of these road crimes occur with children in the vehicle, and Adam is hoping that residents make positive changes before tragedy strikes.