FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 13, 2017
Contact: Tara Gill, 202-408-1711, firstname.lastname@example.org
STATEMENT OF JACKIE GILLAN, PRESIDENT OF ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY, ON MISSISSIPPI UPGRADING ITS SEAT BELT LAW TO PROTECT BACKSEAT PASSENGERS
Mississippi becomes 19th state plus DC to enact a primary enforcement all-passenger seat belt law
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) commends Governor Phil Bryant (R) and the Mississippi Legislature for enacting “Harlie’s Law” (SB 2724) to require all vehicle occupants wear seat belts. This new law is extremely timely considering that in 2015, traffic fatalities rose nearly 12 percent in Mississippi, with 57 percent of those fatalities being unrestrained, when restraint use was known. “Harlie’s Law” will require every passenger in every seating position to be buckled up on every trip. It will save lives, reduce injuries and contain associated crash costs. It’s a win-win-win law for the State of Mississippi.
The law is named after Harlie Ann Brooke Oswalt, who was killed in a crash along with her cousin, Tristan Bragg, on November 21, 2016, in Marshall County. Both teens were unrestrained. While Mississippi had a primary enforcement seat belt law for front seat occupants, it was lacking a rear seat belt law. The majority of passengers in the rear seats of vehicles are teens and children, and studies have shown that seat belt usage by teens and young adults (age 16 – 24) is among one of the lowest segments of society. This upgrade of Mississippi’s seat belt law will send a strong message that buckling up is not an option, it’s a lifesaving requirement.
Advocates thanks and congratulates Governor Bryant, the bill’s sponsors – Representative Massengill and Senator Simmons, and all SB 2724 supporters in the Mississippi Legislature for demonstrating leadership and courage, and for saving lives.