Seat belt extensions help drivers comply with law

Published 5:00 am Friday, July 7, 2006

Since the May 27 implementation of a primary offense seat beltlaw in Mississippi, local law enforcement officials have not let upin their efforts to cite those in violation of the law.

“We are trying to enforce this the best we can because we knowthat the use of seat belts will save lives and the degree ofinjuries is greatly reduced with the use of seat belts,” saidMississippi Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer Rusty Boyd.

Some motorists, however, have needed help in the form of seatbelt extensions in order to comply with the new law. Brookhavenresident Gary Phillips appreciates assistance provided by theextensions.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“The regular seat belts, especially in older model cars, whenthey are buckled, restricts my breathing,” Phillips said. “When itwas made mandatory, I was looking at the possibility of receivingtickets. I contacted the dealership and they provided a seat beltextender free of charge.”

Stan King Chevrolet Parts Manager Rusty Williams said thatGeneral Motors is offering the extenders free of charge as acourtesy and that seat belts are being offered at a large discountfor those needing replacements.

During the 30-hour Fourth of July holiday period, there were 63seat belt citations and 25 child restraint citations issued by thehighway patrol statewide, Boyd said.

The Brookhaven Police Department officers are enforcing the lawand have written a lot of tickets, said Police Chief PapHenderson.

“We are not writing as many as we did at first because peopleare realizing that it is the law,” Henderson said.

Seat belt violations are also leading to citations and chargesfor other offenses.

“People need to realize that the seat belt violation can lead toother violations such as suspended license and no proof ofinsurance. We wouldn’t have known this if the seat belt law had notbeen violated,” Henderson said. “That one violation can lead toother violations.”

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department officers are also on thelook out for those in violation of the law.

“So far we have had to give a few warnings and have had to writevery few tickets,” said Sheriff Wiley Calcote. “It seems likeeverybody is abiding by the law.”

To make sure that all citizens are abiding by the seat belt law,several local car dealerships are providing seat belt extenders forthose whose seat belt straps are too small and shoulder clips forthose whose seat belts are too large.

Local law enforcement officials are encouraging everyone to obeythe law and buckle up.

“I would encourage everybody to wear their seat belts and thatchildren are in proper restraints for their age,” Calcote said. “Wesee these wrecks where people are thrown from their vehicles andmost of that is from not having their seat belts on.”

Phillips indicated the extensions help him and others follow thelaw and be safe.

“It makes me feel good to know that I can be in compliance withthe law and that I have the seat belt on in case somethinghappens,” Phillips said. “It’s made a big difference for me.”