Highway Patrol enforcing seat belt law

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The next time you get behind the wheel or are a passenger in a vehicle, remember wearing a seat belt is not just a good idea. It's the law.

Yvette Pearse and her husband, Brian, joined officials with the Highway Patrol to kick off the Click it or Ticket campaign in South Mississippi.

"We lost both of our children in a car accident November 14th, 2006. The report stated they did not have on seat belts" Yvette Pearse said with emotion in her voice.

The Pearses have lived the nightmare of losing loved ones. The Mississippi Highway Patrol wants to spare other families that same sorrow, grief and pain.

Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety Albert Santa Cruz said the law is based on solid statistics.

In 2010, "545 drivers and passengers were killed; 62.4 percent were unbelted. That is unreal. It takes only two or three seconds to buckle up."

For young people 20 to 24, that number jumps to 75 percent. It soars to 81.3 percent for teenagers.

This Memorial Day weekend, the Highway Patrol will set up check points looking for people breaking the seat belt law.

"Here in South Mississippi, since the beginning of this year, we've had 11 fatalities. Four were ejected. We want to curtail that and make sure everyone buckles up and has a safe weekend," said Troop K Captain Jimmy O'Banner.

The Pearses are on a mission to encourage people, especially teens, to buckle up. Their goal is pure and simple.

"Hopefully prevent a family from going through what we've lived with every day," said Yvette.

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