As discussed in most of the safety categories included on this site, responsible drivers are important protection for passengers. Driving alert, reducing distractions, not driving under the influence and being ever aware of other roadway users will, in turn, protect passengers from many accidents. Vehicle incidents cannot all be avoided. In some cases, mechanical failure, medical incidents or behavior of the other roadway may cause an accident.
Seat Belt Laws
Mississippi is a primary belt law with backseat exemptions state.
Primary blet laws allow police to stop and ticket a motorist if the driver and passengers are not buckled up. Non-confoming primary laws allow exemptions for some vehicles, such as pick-up trucks. Secondary belt laws allow police to issue a citation only if the driver is first stopped for another infraction.
Backseat exemption: riders in the backseat do not have to wear seat belts after a certain age. Passengers can ride in the back seat without wearing seatbelts fanging from age 7 to 18, depending on state law.
Seat Belt Safety Videos
Heaven Can Wait
Click it or Ticket: For Zombie Fans
Click it or Ticket: For the Gamers
Seat Belts & Pregnancy
As a body changes whether due to pregnancy, weight gain or loss, injury compensation, or other situation, we must remember to adjust our seatbelt accordingly.
When I was 8.5 months, I was in a head on collision. My tightly fastened seat belt prevented me from moving and stopped my belly from hitting the steering wheel. Shortly after I felt the baby move and knew everything was fine. I shudder to think of what might have happened if I wasn’t wearing one, or not wearing one right. To this day I still thank my lucky stars for that seatbelt.
Guidelines for wearing a seat belt
- Always wear both the lap and shoulder belt.
- Buckle the lap strap under your belly and over your hips.
- Never place the lap belt across your belly.
- Rest the shoulder belt between your breasts and off to the side of your belly.
- Never place the shoulder belt under your arm.
- If possible, adjust the shoulder belt height to fit you correctly.
- Make sure the seat belt fits snugly.
Other helpful tips
- Driving can be tiring for anyone. Try to limit driving to no more than 5-6 hours per day.
- Never turn off the air bags if your car has them. Instead, tilt your car seat and move it as far as possible from the dashboard or steering wheel.
- If you are in a crash, get treatment right away to protect yourself and your baby.
Mississippi Occupant Safety Laws
Seat Belt Usage
Mississippi Code 63-2-1 requires all passenger vehicle drivers and front-seat passengers to wear safety belts.
- Drivers and passengers with disabilities or medical conditions that make safety belts impossible or dangerous to use. These drivers and passengers much have written documentation from their physicians.
- Drivers and passengers of vehicles designed for farm use.
- On-duty drivers of United States Postal Service vehicles and on-duty meter readers.
For more information about wearing seat belts in Mississippi, refer to Chapter 002 of Title 63.
Mississippi Child Passenger Safety Law
Mississippi’s law requires children ages 6 & under who are less than 4’9” in height or weigh less than 65 pounds to be transported in a child passenger restraint device or belt positioning booster seat system.
Children ages 3 & under must be transported in a child passenger restraint device or system.
Children ages 4 through 6 who are less than 4’9” in height or weigh less than 65 pounds must be transported in a used belt positioning booster seat system.
Summarized by Safe Kids USA, www.safekids.org
Motorcycle Riders and Passengers
Mississippi Code 63-7-64 requires all operators and passengers of motorcycles and scooters must wear American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators-approved helmets.
Unattended Children and Pets
A child’s natural curiosity. A pet’s usual rambunctious behavior. Extreme hot and cold temperatures. Shady folks with cruel intentions. They’re all reasons to never leave your child or pet unattended in a motor vehicle. When you do so, you put them at risk for injury, death, and kidnapping (or, petnapping).
If you need to dash in the store for a gallon of milk or in the office to drop off a fax, but can’t take your child or pet in with you, take him or her home first. The extra time will be worth a saved life.
NOTE: Specific Fees and Fines will vary by county. To visit your county’s Justice Court website click the appropriate image here.
Restrictions on riding in vehicle cargo areas
Federal standards require that occupant compartments of vehicles be designed to protect occupants during a crash. The beds of pickup trucks are designed to carry cargo, not people, and are not designed to provide protection in a crash. In addition, children and adults can be easily ejected from cargo areas at relatively low speeds as a result of a sharp turn to avoid an obstacle or crash.
The hazards of riding in cargo areas have been addressed in 30 states and the District of Columbia by a variety of laws, most of which are designed to protect children, but few of which provide comprehensive protection for all children younger than 16. Seat belt and child restraint laws also may apply to prevent people from riding unrestrained in cargo areas. www.iihs.org/laws/cargoAreas.aspx
To Date, Mississippi does not have a state law in place regarding passengers riding in cargo areas. This does not mean it is a safe practice. Drivers must consider that although they may not receive a ticket for a legal violation, the likelihood of serious and permanent harm or suffering fatal injuries is greater when passengers if not restrained in a proper seat with a seat belt. It won’t matter who was at fault or whether their is a law in place if someone you care about is hurt. Be informed of the risks and help protect your passengers.
- Have you ever had an animal, a child or an object cross the road right in front of you causing you had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision?
- What about a bicyclist, car door opening or backing vehicle coming into your lane requiring a sharp swerve to avoid them?
Thinking about these instances, did you see them coming? Was anyone with you who’s head hit the window or elbow smacked into the door? Did a drink or other item go flying across the car?
Can you imagine what may have happened to an unrestrained passenger in the vehicle or in the back of a pickup truck?
Links & Resources
- 2011 National Seat Belt Use Fact Sheet
- Booster Seats: Fact Sheet
- Children and Airbags: Fact Sheet
- Click It or Ticket Resources
- Gulf Coast Buckling Down Project
- March of Dimes
- NCSL: Occupant Safety Report
- NHTSA: Child Seat Recommendations
- NHTSA: Downloadable resources 1996-2012
- Safety Belts and Airbags: Fact Sheet