Highway Patrol campaign targets seat belt usage

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 23, 2002

Drivers may find themselves facing a seat belt violationcitation if they don’t remember to “click it.”

The Mississippi Highway Patrol opened this year’s round of”Click It or Ticket” checkpoints May 20.

“Our primary goal is to keep Mississippi safe and save liveswith the ‘Click It or Ticket’ program,” said Staff Sgt. ErrolPierce, public relations officer.

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The program is designed to emphasize seat belt and childrestraint seat usage, he said, by running roadblocks to catchoffenders.

“We’re not just there to write tickets, but we will to stressseat belt and child restraint seat usage,” he said.

Seat belts fall under a category commonly called “secondarylaws,” where a violation of that law does not allow a person to bepulled over and cited. Officers must first find a “primary law”violation before they can stop the driver and cite him for failureto use seat belts.

Violation of the child restraint law, however, is considered aprimary law, Pierce said.

The roadblocks enable troopers to cite for seat belt violationswhile checking for others, such as no driver’s license, drivingwhile license suspended, driving under the influence and car tagviolations.

“The safety checks normally net their share of other violationsas well,” Pierce said.

During the course of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, he said,troopers will be “stepping up” the pace of patrolling andestablishing roadblocks.

“We’re running at least two safety checkpoints in the morningand in the afternoon,” he said. “Sometimes we actually run morethan that.”

The chances of running into a checkpoint are pretty high.

“The times and locations are being staggered so people willnever know when and where,” Pierce said.

In the time between established checkpoints, he said, the MHPhas increased the number of troopers patrolling to increasevisibility.

“This is all about saving lives,” he said. “We’re just trying todo what we can to save lives.”

The statewide program ends June 2.