JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation
Once again, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement May 18 to 31, just ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
"Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes," said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. "As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2013 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 59 percent of those killed. That's why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In Mississippi, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is a misdemeanor with a fine of $25.
Data from the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety shows that the seatbelt usage rate is at 74.4 percent, compared to 83 percent in 2012. 613 people died from traffic crashes in Mississippi in 2013, which is increased by a 5.3 percent from 2012. Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2013, more than half (54%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 41 percent were not buckled up.
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot