Hands Across the Border

Law enforcement officials from Mississippi and Alabama are joining forces to saturate the roadways for safety during the Memorial Day weekend.

City, county, and state law enforcement have teamed up for Hands Across the Border.

Law enforcement officials in Mississippi say that the nine deaths that occurred during the Memorial Day weekend in 2011 were nine too many. They are working this year to bring that number to zero.

"Our goal is to make the roadways in the state of Mississippi and the state of Alabama as safe as possible," said Mississippi Troop H commander, Maj. Billy Mayes.

"We want everybody to know, whether they are in Mississippi or Alabama, that it's very important that you're wearing your seat belt at all times," said Tasha Washington, Alabama's assistant highway director.

"The fatalities that have happened, it was due to non-seatbelt usage. So a lot of the crashes that involved fatalities, they were not wearing a seatbelt," said Mayes.

The Hands Across the Border campaign will end June 3. But Washington says the crackdown on not wearing your seatbelt won't.

"The effort is ongoing throughout the year," said Washington. "We are constantly out there, law enforcement is out there enforcing the law."

If you are planning on traveling in Mississippi or Alabama, officials want you to know...

"Your chances of surviving an automobile crash, your chances of surviving are greater if you do have a seatbelt on. The safest thing to do is buckle up."

"Our mission is to save lives. Wear your seatbelt, every trip, every time whether you are going to the store, or a long trip. You need to have that seatbelt on."

Alabama's seat belt usage rate is well above the national average, while Mississippi's is just below it right now.

According to numbers from 2010 from the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, 81 percent of Mississippians buckle up. Ninety-one percent of Alabamians do. The national average is 85 percent.


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