New law may save Mississippi lives

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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.

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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.