Some of the most disturbing motoring news over the summer has been around the number of unrestrained kids the police have found in cars.
In late December police pulled over a car with the driver’s 3-year-old daughter lying in the back seat and his 18-month-old in the reclined front passenger seat.
The police officer — a dad himself — asked colleagues to pick up his own children’s car seats to be used to transport the two tots home safely.
In early January came the appalling story of a mother caught speeding with one child across her lap and another, unrestrained, in the front seat.
Worse, a child booster seat was found in the car’s boot.
Last week, a woman was caught with a breath-alcohol level three times the legal limit and three pre-schoolers, two of them unrestrained, in her car. New Zealand law requires that children are correctly restrained until their seventh birthday.
From age 7 to 8 they should be in a booster seat, if available.
I prefer “international best practice recommends the use of an appropriate child restraint (or booster seat) until your child reaches 148cm tall or is 11 years old,” as stated on the NZ Transport Agency website.
As a mum of two, I spent many years moving car seats from one test car to another (before the Isofix was available) so I find these incidents abhorrent. There is no excuse.
Cheap, safe car seats are readily available while Plunket goes out of its way to have restraints available.
■Correction: Last week we reported that Mercedes-Benz was the first luxury brand in New Zealand to crack 2000 new car sales since the Motor Industry Association began recording registrations in 1985. BMW was the first luxury brand in NZ to achieve that.