Buckle for Life Awards Luncheon

Authorities say seat belts save nearly 13,000 lives a year. Making sure drivers are buckled up and safe is a worthy job.
An award ceremony recognized the efforts of police officers throughout Mississippi today in Biloxi. News 25’s Gina Tomlinson has the details.
Click it or ticket: a national campaign that is driving home the message that it’s the snap of a seat belt that could save your life.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, in a one year span more than half of the 21,000 passengers killed were not buckled up. Mississippi Highway Patrol Director of Public Affairs Captain Johnny Poulos said, “We lose a lot of people in Mississippi that are not properly restrained, they’re not using their seatbelts.”
Law enforcement from departments throughout the state gathered for the Buckle for Life Awards Luncheon at the Golden Nugget Casino and Resort in Biloxi where recognition was given for effectively issuing child restraint and seat belt citations.
While no one likes a ticket, they can pay off in the long run as witnessed by one driver who was given a buckle up ticket, but later thanked the police officer after she was involved in a horrible car wreck months later. John Williams with Pearl Police Department said, “She said, ‘I would have probably died and if I wouldn’t put it on thinking about you and Pearl Police Department.’”
Officer Williams tells News 25 that kind of acknowledgement is worth more than any award. “’So sorry for being mad. You’ve saved my life or you’ve saved my loved ones.’ Those are the things that we really want to see and that’s the type of recognition that we want to get credit for.”
Authorities say from 2014 to 2015 the seat belt usage for Mississippi has gone up by an entire percentile. Officers say it’s important to keep that number on the rise for 2016. Albert Santa Cruz, commissioner of Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said, “A lot of our people that are still not buckling up are being ejected from cars and that’s what this program is all about and to teach younger people to buckle up.”

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