FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 7, 2006

GOVERNOR BARBOUR SIGNS SAFETY BELT BILL

(Jackson, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour today signed the primary safety belt bill (House Bill 409) in a public ceremony alongside legislators and representatives of many groups who fought for the passage of this important legislation.

“History is being made in Mississippi today as we strengthen the law governing protection of occupants in vehicles,” Governor Barbour said.

When this primary law increases belt use, Mississippi taxpayers will save an estimated $94 million in annual cost according to the National Highway Travel Safety Administration. Additionally, the new Federal Highway Safety Bill (SAFETEA-LU) brings over $8 million incentive funds to Mississippi with the signing of this bill into law.

"As a result of this legislation, fewer Mississippians will be killed or seriously injured in traffic crashes," Phil Haseltine of the National Safety Council said.

States that have passed primary laws have seen a significant increase in belt use because of education and enforcement. Enforcement of HB 409 will help save lives, prevent injuries and improve Mississippi’s 63 percent safety belt use ranking, the second lowest in the nation.

“Because riding without seat belts or car safety seats is the greatest risk factor for death and injury among child passengers, Mississippi pediatricians are extremely grateful for the support of the governor and the legislature in enacting primary seatbelt legislation,” Dr. Bill Payne, President of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said.

The new law allows law enforcement officers to stop a car if they see occupants who are unrestrained. Previously, seat belt citations could only be issued if some other violation was noticed.

 

 


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741