Video: Passengers and Drivers in Mississippi Buckle Up for Tougher Seat Belt Laws

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Laws passed in this year’s legislative session take effect on July 1st.

One of those includes additions to the state’s seat belt law.

If passengers aren’t use to being buckled up in the back seat like I am, then they should start making it a habit, because on July 1st, if they’re not clicked in, then the driver of the car can expect to pay a fine.

Drivers and passengers should start buckling up for tougher seat belt laws in Mississippi.

On July 1st, law enforcement will be taking ‘Click It or Ticket’ to new levels.

“In the past, it was restricted to front seat occupants of the vehicle. After July 1st, everyone in the vehicle by law has to be restrained. Front seat, back seat passengers, so it’s just a little addition on to it,” says Mississippi Highway Patrolman Master Sergeant Criss Turnipseed.

Christine Exeter recently moved here from Canada, where the law has long required everyone to wear seat belts. She says she finds it’s shocking that it’s just now becoming a state law.

“Actually, mind blowing to me that it wasn’t a rule. I had no idea. I think it’s important for everyone in the vehicle because I mean people who die on a day to day basis, who don’t have on seat belts, like seat belts actually save lives.”

This summertime, southern staple of cruising in the bed of a truck is about to go away as well.

“I don’t know of many pickups or trucks that have seat belts in the back of the truck, so that would be illegal to ride back there because there’s no safety restraint system back there. So we’ll be looking at that, paying a lot more close attention to people riding in the back of pickups,” says Turnipseed.

Any passenger who does decide to ride in the fresh air, or chooses not to click it, can expect to be ticketed and fined.

“It’s a good idea for passenger cars. There might be a problem with not allowing people to ride in the cargo area of a pickup truck. That’s going to be a hardship on a lot of people,” says Starkville resident, Johnie Jenkins.

Turnipseed and this resident both agree that the new law makes sense for safety reasons.

“Kids, what, is like the second leading cause of death among kids 13 and under are car accidents, so yeah it’s a good idea,” says Starkville resident, Orlando Young.

No seat belt and riding in the back of a truck is $25 dollars for each offense, plus court costs.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is doing a new seat belt campaign called ‘In the Click’ and it’s to remind everyone to be literally clicked in by putting on seat belts.

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