Traffic

Deaths down, seat belt use up over July 4 weekend in Mississippi

State troopers saw fewer lives lost and more people wearing seat belts on state and federal highways over the July 4 weekend, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Traffic crashes over the holiday weekend claimed three lives, compared with six traffic deaths during last year’s holiday period, MHP Capt. Johnny Poulos said.

And troopers statewide issued 199 seat belt violations, compared with 444 over the same period last year, he said.

Poulos credited the lower number of deaths and seat belt tickets to “responsible decisions by motorists” and attention paid to the state’s amended seat belt laws. One amended law, effective Saturday, requires all passengers to buckle up, or the driver gets a $25 ticket for each unrestrained passenger.

Also, increased state trooper presence in the MHP’s “In The Click” traffic enforcement campaign probably helped, he said.

None of this year’s fatal crashes occurred in the six southernmost counties patrolled by the Biloxi-based Troop K. The deaths occurred in one-vehicle crashes in Yazoo, Monroe and Grenada counties.

Troopers statewide wrote 5618 citations, made 100 DUI arrests and investigated 183 crashes that injured 48 people. Five crashes were alcohol-related.

Troopers in South Mississippi issued 526 citations, made 12 DUI arrests and investigated 26 collisions. One was alcohol-related and one resulted in injuries, Poulos said.

They also wrote four seat belt tickets and one child-restraint citation, some of the lowest numbers in the state.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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