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New law may save Mississippi lives

Being in last place gets old in Mississippi.

The latest list revelation: More children die in car crashes in our state per capita than any other state in the country.

Mississippi also led the nation in a study in the percentage of children in fatal accidents who were not properly restrained.

The reason is rather clear, since many children killed are either not buckled into safety belts or buckled improperly.

This problem dates back to our rural roots and a Deep South culture that has long viewed seat belts as more of a hindrance than a lifeline. Even our state laws, to date, haven’t cooperated.

Only the driver, front-seat passengers are required to wear safety belts and under 7 are required to be restrained in a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt. In other words, children 8 or older can sit in the back seat completely unrestrained.

And that has been a deadly equation.

Thankfully Mississippi has a new law coming into effect on July 1 of this year that will require all passengers in a car to wear a properly fastened seat belt or be restrained in a car seat.

This change will undoubtedly save lives, and hopefully move us off this bottom of this dreadful list.