Buckle up Mississippi: Lawmakers should be commended for passage of Harley’s Law

Published 8:16 pm Saturday, April 1, 2017

It is a simply act. The mere act of wearing a seat belt has proven to be crucial in saving lives.

The Centers for Disease Control reported motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of deaths for those aged 9 to 54 in the United States.

As the CDC reports, for adults and older children, seat belt use is “the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes.”

During the recent session of the Mississippi Legislature — a session most would argue did little to nothing productive — lawmakers did come together to get something positive done. Both the House and the Senate approved a measure — known as Harlie’s Law — will now making it a requirement for anyone under the age of 18 to wear a seat belt, regardless of where they are sitting in the car.

It is a measure that was a long time in coming, and thankfully is now just a signature by Gov. Phil Bryant from becoming law.

While we celebrate the fact such a measure is just a signature away from becoming law, we are curious as to why 17 state senators voted against the measure.

According to the CDC, Mississippi ranks below the national average in seat belt usage. This law will hopefully change that.

In some of their most recent reporting, the CDC said 21,022 deaths occurred in motor vehicle crashes in 2014. More than half of the teens and adults, aged 20-44, who died in crashes were not wearing their seat belt at the time of the crash.

If that statistic alone does not change your mind on the importance of wearing seat belts — regardless of the seat — then we are not sure what will.

It is time to buckle up Mississippi, no mater where you are sitting.