MHP encourages seat belt usage to prevent accidents - - Jackson, MS

MHP encourages seat belt usage to prevent accidents

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Wearing a seat belt may seem like second nature to some, but Mississippi Highway Patrol officials say many still don't buckle up and the consequences can be deadly.

During Thanksgiving weekend, there were four deadly accidents in Mississippi. And all of the passengers involved were not wearing a seat belt.

"It should be second nature," said Captain Johnny Poulos with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. "Once you're in the vehicle, the click has to be made." 

Captain Poulos says as simple as it may sound, some drivers in Mississippi fail to wear their seat belt.

"Our seat belt usage rate at this time is actually 79.4 percent. We need it to go higher. We want those numbers to go higher," Captain Poulos explained.

Captain Poulos says that a lot of people are not aware of what can happen when one person in a car full of  people doesn't have a seat belt on.

"You can have every passenger in the vehicle restrained. The driver can be restrained, but if one person is not restrained that one person can take everyone's life in the vehicle just due to the fact you are a human projectile," he explained.

"A majority of people who have accidents out there are riding at least 50 miles per hour or more," said MHP Trooper Eric Henry. "The faster you're going the more momentum that vehicle has to eject you outside the vehicle. Ejection happens two types of ways; sometimes you are totally ejected from the vehicle. Sometimes you are partially ejected from the vehicle."

MHP has a live look of the consequences of not wearing a seat belt through a simulator. Captain Poulos says parents do a good job of restraining their children, but sometimes they forget themselves.

"They know right when they get in the car, that's the first thing they need to do is put that seat belt on," explained Laurel Ditto of Jackson. "In fact my parents taught me that and that was just a big deal in our home growing up." 

Research shows wearing a seat belt can save your life.

"Twenty-five years ago I was in an auto accident. Broke my neck, and because of the seat belt I lived to tell about it," said Janice Lane of Newton.

A rule of thumb for most drivers, asking everyone in the car if they are strapped in.

"Every driver should take the responsibility before the car moves to make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained. If they do that, everyone can make it to destination safely," said Captain Poulos.

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