Letters to the Editor

Seatbelts and the law | Federal Way letters

The Mirror’s June 13 edition reported that a 20-year old Federal Way man was arrested on June 9 for suspicion of driving under the influence when his Honda “plowed into” a Ford Expedition on I-5.

The news was bad: Two small children ejected from the vehicle and currently fighting for their lives, three other children taken to the hospital along with three adults.

The various online reports of this event record this 8-seat vehicle as occupied by either 9 or 10 persons, all illegally being transported without using seatbelts or child restraints.

According to RCW 46.61.688, in the State of Washington, all vehicle occupants are required to be properly restrained, the driver is responsible for properly securing all children under the age of 16 (which encompasses at least two other children taken to the hospital in this particular instance).

According to RCW 46.61.687, the child restraint law children under the age of 8 must ride in a child restraint (this pertains to the two children who were ejected).

The comments from officials on site make mention of how important it is to wear your seatbelt with the same zeal as they might tell someone of the importance of brushing their teeth, then they lament that most of the injured persons would have undoubtedly walked away from the accident had they been wearing their seatbelts. Glaringly missing from their comments, though, is the fact that this accident would have been far less tragic if they had been in compliance with the laws of this state. That’s the crux of the issue that has not been addressed in any report — the illegal behavior in the Ford Expedition.

The driver of the Honda appears to have been driving under the influence which is, of course, illegal.

The driver of the Expedition was driving passengers without restraints which is also illegal, not to mention stupid.

Any of the accompanying parents who allowed their children to ride unrestrained were guilty of gross negligence, bordering on wanton misconduct: “Intentional failure to act in disregard of a known peril or hazard.” Hmm, kind of illegal, too.

Am I the only one who looks at the report of this tragic outcome and wonders why the only one arrested was the Honda driver?

Harriet Cook, Federal Way

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