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Traffic stops check for safety violations
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Officer Pat Cochran checks a drivers license during a safety check stop Tuesday on Gen. Screven Way in Hinesville. - photo by Photo provided.

Hinesville residents can expect to see an increased presence of public safety personnel on the roads this year as the city encourages safety among its citizens. To kick off those efforts, the Hinesville Police and Fire departments joined forces Feb. 18 to conduct a road safety check on vehicles. It was the first of a series of checks taking place this year.
“Safety is our major concern here today,” Hinesville Police Department Lt. Bill Kirkendall said. “We are screening for possible violations on drivers licenses, seat belts, tinted windows and anything else.”
 During the check, the most common violations were tinted windows and suspended drivers licenses and insurance. These types of violations pose a safety risk for the public by inhibiting an officer’s ability to see in vehicles and drivers’ ability to see out. It also ensures more safe, responsible drivers are on the road.  
Seat-belt and child-safety-seat violations were another concern among the public-safety officials. The Hinesville Fire Department conducted child-safety-seat inspections.  
 Out of the 45 seats checked by firefighters during the stops, 12 were installed improperly according to Capt. Andra Hart, public safety education coordinator for HFD. When asked about the importance of child safety seats, fire engineer Alex Mason referred to statistics on how important child safety seats are at saving lives.
The leading cause of death in the U.S. for children is motor vehicle injuries sustained as a result of improper use of child safety seats according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. People who use safety seat belts reduce their risk of injury by half.
“We want to focus on safety,” Fire Chief Lamar Cook said. “It’s not because parents aren’t trying, they just don’t know. The (child safety seat) instructions are vague so we want to teach parents and keep our children safe.”
This joint safety check is the first of its kind in several years for the departments but officials agreed it would be an ongoing program.
“We’re going to be out in the neighborhoods checking for violations, so make sure everything is current,”  Kirkendall said.
Anyone needing assistance with child safety seat installation can visit a Hinesville Fire Department station at anytime. Residents can also visit and view the police department and fire department web pages for public safety programs and to report concerns.

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