Click it or Ticket' reports issued
AWARENESS Maj. Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department talks to a driver in the Zero community. Deputies checked more than 2,000 drivers at roadside safety checks during the "Click it or Ticket" campaign. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Suzanne Monk/The Meridian Star
Juen 5, 2001
How many times over the past two weeks have you pulled up short on the way out of a convenience store parking lot to drag your seat belt across your lap?
The reason for the sudden awareness was the nationwide "Click it or Ticket" campaign, May 21-June 3. It was designed to raise awareness of seat belt and child restraint laws, and local law enforcement officers say it worked.
Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department
A week before their campaign of roadside safety checks began, Lauderdale County deputies made a visual survey at three busy locations. Each time, they observed 100 drivers.
About 50 percent of the drivers in the pre-enforcement group were not buckled up.
During the "Click it or Ticket" campaign, deputies conducted roadside safety checks at eight locations on the weekend of May 26-27, and again June 2-3. More than 2,000 drivers were stopped. A total of 76 traffic tickets were issued; 33 percent of these were for seat belt or child restraint violations.
Nationwide, Mississippi has one of the lowest percentages of seat belt use and law enforcement officers say they want that to change.
Meridian Police Department
Inside the Meridian city limits, police officers conducted eight roadside safety checks during the two-week "Click it or Ticket" campaign but they mostly relied on saturation patrols.
The make-up of tickets issued during the two-week campaign reflects this use of radar. By far the most common ticket issued was for speeding.
However, a report issued by the MPD Monday shows 16 percent of all tickets issued were for seat belt/child restraint non-compliance.
Marion Police Department
Chief Kevin Taylor of the Marion Police Department said his officers, four full-time and two part-time, conducted three roadside safety checks during the Memorial Day weekend.
While citations issued had not yet been totaled, he said the emphasis placed on restraints made a noticeable difference in his jurisdiction.
What some drivers complained about
During the "Click it or Ticket" campaign, some drivers questioned whether it should be against the law not to buckle up. The truth, Calhoun said, is that drivers can't be ticketed solely for failing to wear their seat belts.
Child restraint violations, however, are a primary offense and tickets can be issued for this offense alone.
For more information about restraint laws, call the Meridian Police Department at 485-1893 or the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department at 482-9800.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Here's a look at how many tickets were issued during a two-week push by Lauderdale County law enforcement agencies called "Click it or Ticket," designed to heighten awareness about seat belt and child restraint laws.
Total Seat belt/child restraint
Week 1 (5/21-5/27):
Meridian police 383 64 Saturation patrols, roadside safety checkpoints
Lauderdale deputies 44 14
Stopped 1,204 drivers at eight roadside safety checks
Week 2 (5/28-6/3):
Meridian police 285 42
Saturation patrols, roadside safety checkpoints
Lauderdale deputies 32 11
Stopped 797 drivers at eight roadside safety checks