Roadblocks produce mostly seat belt violations this holiday weekend

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 29, 2008

If you’re not normally inclined to buckle up when you’re on the road, you might want to reconsider.

Vicksburg Police have issued 25 misdemeanor tickets since Wednesday while manning roadblocks at random times at two locations in Vicksburg, said Sgt. Jackie Johnson. The campaign will continue through tonight.

“We’re watching the weather, and we don’t really know what times we’ll be out there,” said Johnson.

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The roadblocks have been set up at Iowa Boulevard at the Interstate 20 overpass as well as at the intersection of U.S. 61 South and I-20, and are being conducted in concert with the national Click It or Ticket campaign by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Along with checking for seat belt compliance, police are checking for insurance, suspended or expired driver’s licenses, controlled substances, drunk driving, fugitives and traffic violations.

Eleven tickets were issued Wednesday and Thursday, and 14 were issued Friday as of the afternoon, said Johnson. Most tickets were issued for seat belt violations, expired licences and no insurance, he said. There were no felony arrests made.

More roadblocks will be set up throughout the city for a two-week period beginning in mid December targeting drunk driving in cooperation with the NHTSA’s Under the Limit, Under Arrest campaign.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said deputies are not partaking in the Click It or Ticket campaign.

“We have a constant presence throughout the year,” Pace said. “We don’t pick certain times of the year to enforce certain traffic laws.”

In 2007, NHTSA data showed seat belt compliance nationwide was at 82 percent, up from 73 percent in 2001. Mississippi drivers had a slightly lower compliance rate, with 71.8 percent buckling up in 2007 — up from 61.6 percent in 2001.

A ticket for not wearing a seat belt costs motorists $36 in Vicksburg, said Johnson.