Pine Belt lawmaker files several roadway safety bills

Published: Jan. 23, 2015 at 8:04 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2015 at 8:55 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Senator Billy Hudson (R- Dist. 45) has filed three bills in the 2015 session that he hopes would make roadways safer in Mississippi.

Senate Bill 2056, which has been referred to the Highways and Transportation Committee, would authorize sheriffs to use radar speed detection in their jurisdiction.

"People are getting killed on county roads," Hudson said. "They're making race tracks out of our county roads."

Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge supports the bill for that very reason.

"I know that the enforcement of our speed laws saves lives," Hodge said. "Jones County, unfortunately, stays at the top of the charts in speed-related accidents."

The state Sheriff's Association, which Hodge serves as a member, endorsed Hudson's legislation.

Some who oppose the bill have argued that sheriff departments will use the money from speeding tickets to fund their departments, but Hodge said their department does not make money on citations because it goes to a state fund.
The bill is being reintroduced this session, because it did not make it out of committee last year, according to Hudson, who said he "will never give up."

"It saves lives. Public safety, it makes sense," he said.

Hudson cosponsored SB 2722, the "texting and driving bill," which also remains in the Highways and Transportation Committee.

The legislation would prohibit drivers from texting or social networking when behind the wheel. According to Hudson, Mississippi is one of six states without similar law.

"I've been to funerals and hospitals because of texting and driving," Hudson said.

SB 2722 is also being reintroduced this session after it did not receive enough support from the House in the final hours of the 2014 session.

"We had already celebrated," Hudson recalled of the Senate vote.

Hodge echoed the need for this bill, saying accidents are too common due to texting and driving.

"With the number of vehicles we have on the road today, there needs to be something done so that we can enforce that law," Hodge said.

An additional bill authored by Hudson is SB 2058, which would require motorists to use headlights "whenever precipitation necessitates the use of windshield wipers." It would also prohibit only  parking light being used when headlights would be required.

SB 2058 is another repeat bill in Highways and Transportation, and Hudson expects it to be introduced Monday.

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