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Officers busy enforcing new seat belt law

Brookhaven Police were busy last weekend after a new law enabledthem to pull over any motorist for not wearing their safetybelts.

The new primary offense seat belt law took effect Saturday.Brookhaven police issued 40 seat belt violation citations over theMemorial Day weekend. The citations included primary and secondaryoffense violations, said Assistant Police Chief Nolan Jones.

“That’s not counting child restraint violations,” Jonessaid.

Jones said officers took special care to enforce the new law,although no checkpoints were used.

“While on patrol, officers would see someone without their seatbelt on,” Jones said. “They were at different locations on patrolaround town.”

Jones believes the new law could lead to additional arrests orcitations.

“It might (lead to additional arrests) after we get a vehiclestopped, depending upon what the officer observes,” Jones said.”It’s possible.”

The Brookhaven Police Department issued 33 citations for seatbelt violations on Saturday alone. Two seat belt violations wereissued Sunday and five were issued on Memorial Day.

Municipal Court officials hope the law will dissuade motoristsfrom driving unbelted.

“Violations will cost no less than $25 and no more than $50 foreach offense,” said Municipal Court Clerk Cathy Allen.

Additional penalties exist for minors.

“For minors, the fine is $25 plus an assessment fee which costsa total of $90,” Allen said.

Area seat belt citation totals for the Mississippi HighwayPatrol and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department wereunavailable.