Study Says Teens Are Not Buckling Up

Some Mississippi teenagers have an understanding of why buckling up is important. At the same time, they understand why other teens don't buckle up.

"A lot of people make fun of me when I wear my seatbelt. They're like, 'look at this geek,'" Jimmy Gilmore says.

Gilmore says peer pressure hasn't affected him, but it has affected some of his friends.

The Highway Patrol says its click it and ticket campaign is making a difference on drivers... including teens.

"Mississippi seat belt usage was at 49 percent. At the end of that campaign, seatbelt usage was up to 62 percent," Col. L.M. Claiborne with the Mississippi Highway Patrol says.

Claiborne says troopers will enforce whatever seatbelt law Mississippi has. Right now, it's what's called secondary law, meaning you can't be pulled over for failing to buckle up, but drivers and passengers can get a ticket for it if you break another law.

Thirty-one states have seatbelt laws like Mississippi's. Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign, which sponsored this latest study, wants all states with secondary seatbelt laws to get tougher. That group is sending a copy of its report to Gov. Musgrove in hopes he'll push lawmakers to make buckling up a requirement.