Buckle Up or Else

By: Aisha Greer
By: Aisha Greer

On Friday the Mississippi Senate passed a tougher seat belt law aimed at encouraging people to buckle up and save lives.

"If they had their seat belts on their injuries would have been greatly reduced," say Sgt. Street with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.

The Senate adopted Senate bill 2467 by a 43-7 vote the measure will now go to the 122 member house.

"When you are talking about the injury aspect you look at the economic aspects," said Street.

Under the proposal, law enforcement officers can stop a vehicle if they suspect occupants are not wearing their seat belts and the penalty for violators could be a still fine.

The proposal passed mandates a twenty five dollar fine for an individual not wearing a seat belt, or a total fine of fifty dollars for two or more people in a vehicle that are unbelted.

The current proposal has the support of the Mississippi Highway patrol leaders and Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall.

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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.

Facts

  • 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.


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