The Rhode Island State Police are stocking up on child passenger safety seats and are now certified to install them, thanks to a partnership with AAA.
AAA Northeast recently donated $5,000 to the state police Community, Equity and Inclusion Unit to purchase the seats and perform traffic safety outreach in underserved communities.
The police intend to give out the car seats at events throughout the state, such as those the Public Affairs team has scheduled at Head Start programs.
“Both organizations agree about meeting parents where they are, and that is often when they are picking up their children from preschool,” said Diana Gugliotta, senior manager of traffic safety at AAA Northeast. “Families in need can have their car seats checked by child passenger safety certified troopers and AAA representatives, receive instruction and a new seat if needed.”
The police will also make them available to people in need who they meet during regular patrol duties.
“When we encounter motorists without seats, it’s usually because they are financially insecure. They want their children to be safe, but they have to decide whether to use what little money they have either to eat or to buy a car seat,” state police Capt. Kenneth Jones said. “This is our way of helping community members who sometimes need us beyond enforcing the law. We are human beings under these uniforms. We want people to see the human side of us.”
The club and state police are also working together to deliver AAA’s Shifting Gears program to high school students. Police drug recognition experts speak to young people about the dangers they see on the roadways when people drive under the influence of marijuana. The program aligns with the police initiative called STARS, which stands for State Troopers Are Reaching Students.
The state police partnership is a good fit for AAA, Diana said. “We have mutual goals. We share the same values.”
Connecticut Celebrates New Seat Belt Law
Representatives of AAA Northeast along with national and state legislators and government leaders came together last month to promote Connecticut’s new seat belt law.
As of Oct. 1, all passengers riding in the back seat of vehicles must be buckled up. Previously, this law applied only to children under age 16.
Connecticut was one of the first states to enact a seat belt law for front-seat passengers in 1985, but it took more than 25 years to expand the law to every person in the vehicle.
AAA Northeast Public Affairs representatives played a key role in bringing about the new law.