BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With Child Passenger Safety Week starting Sunday, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said more attention needs to be paid to the increase of motor vehicle crash fatalities because children are at increased risk.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement, and safety groups, and insurance companies and agents working together to improve road safety in the U.S. The group’s mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies, and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.

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The group cited an increase in fatal crashes, documented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the first three months of 2021. These numbers confirm the continuation of a trend that started last year, marked by increases in speeding and impaired driving and decreases in seatbelt use are actions children have no control over, according to a statement from the group.

Children also are at risk as in-person instruction in schools resumes.

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“We urge all parents and caregivers to make sure their children are properly secured in vehicles according to their age and size. We also call on lawmakers across the country and in Congress to advance proven safety solutions to reduce motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities,” Cathy Chase, the group’s president, said in the statement.

The group also is calling for new state laws to protect child passengers, improved school bus safety, preventing children’s injuries or deaths when they’re left in hot cars, and improving child passenger safety laws, some of which have been languishing at NHTSA for more than five years, according to the statement.

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CBS Baltimore Staff