Officials Say Tougher Seat Belt Laws Will Help Save Lives

Gov. Musgrove is backing legislation to make Mississippi's seatbelt law a primary law. That means police officers could pull you over if they don't see you buckled up.

Right now wearing your seatbelt is a secondary offense.  That means if you get pulled over for any traffic violation, from speeding to a broken head light, and you're not wearing your seatbelt, officers can then issue you a ticket for failure to wear a seatbelt.  Although the governor is behind the new legislation, there are some folks who aren't crazy about it.

"It's their own perogative," Shane Henzen says.  "I don't think you should pull anybody over just not for having their seatbelt on."

But many law enforcement officials see the new bill as a potentially life-saving measure.

"The leading of cause of traffic fatalities is people not wearing their seatbelts," head of the Department of Higway Safety Lt. Michael Schaulker says.  "If you examine the accidents, you look at someone who's wearing a seatbelt and someone who's not wearing one, they probably could have been saved."

Other States like Tennessee, have already made seatbelt safety a primary law, and it seems to be working.

"I'm from Memphis, and we already have the law, and if you don't have your seatbelt on they'll pull over," Memphis resident Tora McDade says.  "I think it's a pretty good law."

Supporters of the bill hope that if the fear of getting a ticket isn't enough to get people to buckle up, then arriving at their destination safely will be.