Buckle Up Or Pay Up

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department plans to tighten the belt on people who don't buckle up. They'll be out in full force setting up road blocks for the rest of the week and throughout the Memorial Day weekend.

"Just making sure everybody's buckled up and safe," says Deputy Keith Vaughan, as he peers into a car to make sure the driver and all passengers are wearing their seat belts.

Seat belts aren't the only thing Vaughan and the other officers are looking for.

"We're looking for people not wearing their seatbelts, not having a proper driver's license, their tag up to date and insurance cards," says Deputy Johnny Sigalas.

The road blocks are part of the department's ongoing click it or ticket program.

"In the past two days, since the first day we started, we wrote over 70 citations in violations for seatbelts," says Sigalas.

"Seat belt usage in Mississippi has been low and we are trying to get the word out to the public how important it is." said Sgt. Brian White. "This year alone in Jackson County the Sheriff's office has had seven fatalities, four of which the victims were not seat belted in, so we just can't stress the importance of wearing a seatbelt."

Sgt. White says the fine for not wearing a safety belt while driving is only $25 per violation, but it could end up costing someone their life.

While the officers have the public's safety in mind they ask drivers to do the same for them.

"We try to make it as safe as we can. We try to be as visible as we can," says White. "We just ask people that when they see the blue lights in the distance to start slowing down."

by Josh Ridgdell