The Mississippi Highway Patrol is boosting the number of troopers on state highways this weekend. As MPB's Alexis Ware reports, this comes alongside a new seat belt law.
This Forth of July weekend troopers will enhance visibility on state roads to help lower the number of traffic accidents and deaths. Last year Highway Patrol reported 131 crashes with six fatalities and made 182 DUI arrests. Captain Johnny Poulos is with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. He says one problem in the state is distracted drivers.
"Driver distractions it's a huge issue in today's world. Texting is one of our biggest problems. We still have people impaired. We have impaired drivers getting behind the wheel. And people are not wearing their seat belts," Poulos says.
Troopers will be checking for people not wearing seat belts or driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs at checkpoint locations across the state.
A law requiring all passengers to wear seat belts, including those in the backseat, will go into effect on Saturday July 1. It also outlaws people riding unrestrained in the bed of pick up trucks.
Jim Pollard is with American Medical Response in Jackson. He is grateful for the new law. He says not wearing a seat belt in a crash can have fatal consequences.
"The unrestrained individual their body hits the inside of the car, steering wheel, dashboard, windshield and the third collision is when the organs in the body slam up against the ribs or against the skull case and all of that energy can be catastrophic," Pollards says.
The Forth of July Holiday Enforcement Period begins Friday at 6pm and continues through Tuesday at midnight.