Law enforcement officers will be checking for seatbelt usage and other possible violations at various checkpoints over the next week. Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kickoff of summer vacation and means heavier traffic on the road.
"We'll be doing surveys to determine which areas have the greatest problem,” said Sgt. Michael Street of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.
This year, Meridian Naval Air Station is also joining in the Click It or Ticket campaign, although buckling up is mandatory on base. In fact, security there may stop drivers simply for not being buckled up.
"The leading cause of death for military personnel is not combat, but traffic accidents," said Lt. Christopher Gaskin, MNAS security officer.
Mississippi's seatbelt law and federal law allows for tickets to be issued for a driver or any passenger not wearing a seatbelt. That includes a requirement for children under eight to be in an age-appropriate restraint.
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Seat Belt Tips
- A safety belt can only protect you if it is used -- and used properly.
- Provide enough safety belts for each person traveling in your vehicle. Each person needs his or her own safety belt. Make sure all safety belts are working properly.
- Ask passengers in the front and rear seats to use their safety belts. Most people will gladly buckle up if the driver asks them to.
- Do not start your car until all safety belts are fastened.
- Adjust your safety belt so it fits snugly over your hip bones. It should cross your lap low on the hips, not high across your stomach.
- A shoulder belt should go over your shoulder and across your body diagonally. It should never be worn under your arm.
Child Restraint Laws
- Children under the age of four years must be secured in an approved child restraint system, more commonly called a child safety seat.
- Four and five year-olds must be secured either in a safety seat or by a safety belt.
- A person or legal guardian of a child under the age of four years is responsible for providing a child safety seat to anyone who transports his or her child.
- A person who transports another's child under four years of age does not violate the law if the parent or legal guardian fails to provide a child safety seat and none is used.
- A child with a physical disability, which prevents the use of standard safety seats, is exempt from the provisions of the law if the handicap is duly certified by a physician. A blanket exemption is also granted in case of medical emergency.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 100 percent correct use of child safety seats could have prevented nearly 500 deaths and about 56,000 serious injuries to children in the United States in just one year alone.
Source: www.state.il.us/isp/ (Illinois State Police Web site) contributed to this report.