Safe and sound

Q&A with Sharon Peters

Q: My sister recently went to some organization where experts advised her (for free) about whether her baby seat was properly installed and secured. I’ve got a teen, but also a little one on the way, and I’d love the same kind of advice, but I don’t know where to begin to find someone qualified, as I live in a different state (New Jersey). Can you help?

A: Sure. Go to, click on “Parents Central” in the top ribbon and once you’re on that page, find the “Explore” header and then click on “Inspection Station Locator.” You can type in your state and even your ZIP code and it’ll tell you where in your area such inspections are being offered. There are many in your state of New Jersey.

The trained individuals to whom you’ll be guided are located in police stations, hospitals, repair shops and dealerships, and this listing will give you contact info so you can call ahead.

It’s terrific that you’re being diligent about this. Sad and unnecessary injuries are occurring every day as the result of youngsters being improperly secured and/or the child seat being improperly installed.

Q: Settle an argument? Which state has more traffic deaths: Texas, where we spend our winters, or Colorado, where we spend the rest of the time?

A: Texas by a landslide: 3,398, according to University of Michigan Transportation Research, which did a 50-state traffic fatalities map last year (based on data from 2012). Colorado had 472 traffic deaths that same year.

But keep in mind that these figures do not adjust for population size. When you do that (to give a truer comparison, since Texas has five times the population of Colorado, you find, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, that the gap isn’t so very large. The IIHS calculates data according to deaths per 100,000 population: 9.1 deaths per 100,000 in Colorado and 13.0 in Texas.

By the way, according to IIHS calculations, North Dakota has the highest per 100,000 population figure: 24.3, followed by Wyoming’s 21.3. Lowest numbers: District of Columbia with 2.4 and Massachusetts with 5.3.

© CTW Features

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email