West wrong for flagrantly breaking seat beat law

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 30, 2001

As sad as it may seem, like a stubborn child state Rep. Phillip West, D-Natchez, , apparently doesn’t like being told what to do – even if the message is in his best interest.

At least that’s the only explanation we can come up with for West’s baffling stance on a seat belt bill pending before the Legislature.

The bill would allow law enforcement officers to pull over and issue citations to motorists they spot not safely strapped into their cars. If passed, the bill would strengthen Mississippi’s weak mandatory seat belt law.

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Currently officers can only pull over seat belt law breakers if the motorist is also breaking another traffic law such as speeding or not signaling.

In discussing the issue West said, &uot;Adults shouldn’t have to be told what to do all the time.”

Then despite the law that makes wearing a seat belt mandatory, West admitted he buckles up only &uot;sometimes.&uot;

Wow. It may seem like a trivial violation, but what a poor example West sets for children with his cavalier attitude toward a state law.

Study after study have proven that wearing seat belts saves lives. Period.

And for any adult to not see that, especially one who is charged with creating state laws, is ridiculous.

We hope West and our other legislators realize the importance of this law and act on it accordingly before today’s deadline for acting on such bills passes.

The pending bill won’t guarantee that adults such as West will buckle up, but at the very least it will give the current law some teeth to help motivate law breakers.