State troopers handing out fewer tickets for car seat violations

State troopers handing out fewer tickets for car seat violations »Play Video
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- More parents seem to be protecting their most precious cargo in Yakima County. Troopers aren't catching as many child safety violations - down by more than half. KIMA learned what's behind the drop.

Jacyln Childs has five kids. Three-year-old Jane is her youngest.

"We always put them in their seats for sure," Jaclyn said.

She says she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I can't imagine how bad I'd feel if something happened to them and I, you know, realized it was because I wasn't being as careful and cautious as I should be."

It's a view shared by most parents - and, last year, more parents.

KIMA pulled the numbers. Washington state troopers wrote 140 tickets last year to parents who didn't restrain their kids properly. That's down from more than 300 tickets in 2012.

Case in point: We hit the road with Trooper Sarah Storms for over an hour - and no violators.

Trooper Storms said she hands out about a ticket a week. The most common violation?

"Usually toddlers without a booster seat."

But, she's seen worse.

"Six kids in one car without any car seats and booster seats, anything like that. Parents didn't really have an excuse."

So, why the drop in tickets? Troopers point to recent media campaigns highlighting the importance of safety seats and sending troopers to classrooms teaching kids about good habits in cars.

Six more troopers on patrol also helps.

Trooper Storms says the right car seat and using it the right way can mean the difference between life and death.

"They're too small to get into collisions. Even minor ones can take a huge toll on a child's body."

A toll that Jaclyn makes sure to avoid.

It's not all positive. Yakima police wrote about the same number of tickets for child restraint violations each of the last two years at roughly 300.