Plain and simple, law enforcement officials say drivers traveling over the speed limit is the main cause for most accidents. Couple this with the fact that many rural roads are closely lined by trees and that's why they say the southeast has the highest number of vehicle deaths in the nation. However, to curb speeding on county roads, Sheriff Billy Sollie says county deputies in Mississippi need to be able to use speed radars.
"It's a safety issue," says Sollie.
However, opponents of the issue disagree somewhat, citing that allowing deputies in Mississippi to use speed radars could lead to speed traps. This is something that Sheriff Sollie says is not likely.
"If that's the theory what about a stop sign on a rural county road, a deputy hiding in the bushes and writing hundreds of tickets for somebody running a stop sign? In today's professional law enforcement, that's not an issue anymore. With the database, the state has in tracking citations, they can determine if a particular deputy or agency is abusing having this tool."
Over the past few years, sheriffs throughout the state have lobbied legislators to allow deputies to use the radar, all to know avail. However, they are expected to do so again next year, and Sollie says even the very lean budget that lawmakers are expected to have should not hinder the effort.
"This won't costs the state anything," says Sheriff Sollie. "If the sheriff utilizes a tool, a radar device, that sheriff, that local jurisdiction will have to purchase it."
Meanwhile, although deputies will have to wait to find out if in the future they can use the radar, officials hope to put the brakes on speeding by warning motorists to slow down and be careful. After all, they say speeding really can be a life or death matter!