By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – From May 24 though June 6 – a two-week span including Memorial Day weekend – the Mississippi Highway Patrol will be out in force for Click It or Ticket 2010.
Thanks to the primary seat belt law passed in 2006, a person can be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. Before 2006, officers could cite a person for not wearing a seat belt only after pulling them over for another offense, such as speeding.
“The more people on the roads the more chances there are for accidents, so it’s important that people buckle up,” said Trooper Brian Mobley.
“Seat belts save lives – period. It takes less than 30 seconds to strap that belt on, but people still don’t take the time to it. It’s sad that not taking 30 seconds could cost you your life.”
In 2009, 700 people were killed on Mississippi roadways, according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. About 70 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
State public safety officials estimate that at least 200 of those 700 people would still be alive had they worn their seat belts.
Lee County Coroner Carolyn Gillentine-Green said most of the automobile fatalities she sees deal with unrestrained drivers.
“About 60 percent of our accident deaths in Lee County are people who are not wearing seat belts,” said Gillentine-Green.
Even though more than 75 percent of state motorists are buckling up, the state is still below the 83 percent national average, according to a study by the Social Research Center at Mississippi State University.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.