Don't forget booster basics

Published February 18, 2007

Grim as the subject is, it's important to remind motorists that auto accidents are the No. 1 killer of children ages 4 to 14 in the nation.

And it's alarming that the National Highway Traffic Administration says that just 21 percent of children ages 4 to 8 are "at least on occasion riding in a booster seat while riding in a passenger vehicle."

Experts say that in some cases, kids aren't properly buckled into their safety seats or adults fail to realize that even though a child may have outgrown the child safety seat, a booster seat is still required to help standard seat belts fit properly.

Florida law requires that children 5 or younger must ride in a child restraint seat when traveling in a motor vehicle infant carriers or children's car seats must be used for infants up to 3 years old. Children 4 and 5 years old must ride in an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used.

All infant carriers and car seats must be crash-tested and federally approved. Parents who are unsure about the proper installation of car safety seats may have the seats inspected at designated locations throughout the county.

For online information on finding a specialist to inspect your child safety seat and to read more about Florida statutes regarding child passenger safety, visit www.fhp.state.fl.us/CPS/.


Crosswalk lighting change gets attention

If you've noticed that the overhead crosswalks on Central Avenue and First Avenue S near 61st Street no longer flash messages to yield to pedestrians or display orange neon eyeballs, you're not alone.

Reader Jack Osmann wrote: "What happened to the animated lighted crosswalk signs at 61st Street and First Avenue and Central? Is this another waste of taxpayer money resulting from the city not thinking things out?"

The Doc checked in with Mike Frederick, manager of neighborhood transportation. Frederick said that the overhead crosswalks were part of an experiment by the Federal Highway Administration.

Frederick said that the lights were paid for by a private developer in an attempt to increase motorist yielding compliance at the locations.

"Once installed, our studies indicated that the results we were looking for did not materialize. We have therefore changed out these fixtures with crosswalks that have rapid flashing rectangular LED beacons."

The change has been helpful, he said, adding that studies indicate that the new LED beacons are generating an 80 to 90 percent motorist compliance rate.

Frederick said the city plans to use LED crosswalks at 19 locations around town and back them up with police enforcement. A citation for failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk will cost you $118.50.


Wastewater repair project to affect access

A wastewater repair project on Ninth Avenue N between Highland Street and Eighth Street will begin Monday. The project will take approximately five days, depending on weather. Ninth Avenue N will be closed at Highland Street, and traffic will be rerouted to Fourth Avenue N via Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street or 22nd Avenue N via Highland Street.

Only local traffic will have limited access as the new wastewater line will temporarily cross the roadway. Eastbound through traffic will not be able to proceed past Highland on Ninth Avenue N, and westbound traffic will not be able to proceed past Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Traffic on Highland Street will not be able to turn onto Ninth Avenue N.

Questions on the project may be directed to Stacie Lehmann at 892-5018 or e-mail: WRDCus- tomer Service@stpete.org.

Please share your traffic concerns, comments and questions with Dr. Delay via e-mail at doc delay@yahoo.com.