“Click It or Ticket” Enforcement Increasing in StateBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 24 May 2013 06:00am |
Motorists in Mississippi are three times more likely than most Americans to die in a car crash because they weren't wearing a seat belt. Law enforcement officers across the state are beefing up efforts to look for unbelted drivers through their "Click it or Ticket" Campaign.
Sixty percent of Mississippians who died in car crashes in 2010 were not wearing a seatbelt. That's sobering news for 26 year old Ryan Estep. Eight years ago, the Florence native was a passenger when the driver lost control of the vehicle.
"We weren't drinking, weren't doing anything stupid, just didn't have our seat belts on and we only had enough momentum to flip one time and I just twisted just enough to pull part of spinal cord, I am in a wheelchair, I have no functionality, or muscle spasms or any movement in my legs," said Estep.
Over the extended Memorial Day period, local and state law enforcement officers will be out in full force conducting roadblocks and ticketing unbuckled drivers.
"There was a saying in law enforcement for a long time that. 'I've never unbuckled a dead person,' that's not true, we unbuckle people that have lost their lives in traffic crashes everyday," said Poulus.
Lt. Johnny Poulus is the Director of Public Affairs for the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
"They had their seat belt on but there was a person inside the vehicle that was not belted in and people do not realize when you are traveling in a vehicle at 70 miles per hour, vehicle comes to a stop, your body is still traveling 70 miles per hour, you take that force of being thrown on top of an occupant that is restrained, they're taking people's lives," explained Poulus.
For the first time ever more that 75% of Mississippi's are using seatbelts. But Jenniffer Steven, Director of Children's Emergency Services at Batson Hospital in Jackson still has some concerns.
"We continue to see senseless injuries of babies being paralyzed and ending up staying with us for several years, or to where they're having to learn to walk again and talk again, simply from not buckling up and being thrown out of the car," said Steven.
The "Click It or Ticket campaign runs through June 2nd.
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