Driving home a powerful message about buckling up
It’s been a deadly week on South Mississippi roads as family and friends continue to mourn the loss of three children in George County and others continue to pray for the recovery of a ten-year-old girl thrown from a vehicle earlier this week. Unfortunately, none of them were wearing a seat belt.
Today News 25 spoke with a man who shares a powerful, personal message about buckling up.
Three young people killed in a car accident in George County, three days later a ten-year-old girl hospitalized after being ejected from a vehicle, none of them wearing seat belts.
A saddening thought for Brian Pearse who knows all too well the pain of losing a child to a tragic car accident. Pearse says one or both of his kids’ lives might have been saved had they been wearing seat belts before leaving school at Harrison Central High School nearly ten years ago. “Those were our only two children. To lose my daughter in her senior year of high school when we were getting ready to celebrate all those years of school and everything just vanished in a moment.”
Buckling up takes only a few seconds and could save not only your life, but a life time of grief for those you love. Sergeant Josh Bromen with Gulfport PD said, “People say, ‘well it’s only going to affect me, I’m the only one in the car’ or ‘it’s just me and my friend.’ Well look at George County right now, the impact it’s having across the entire school, across that entire region, everyone is grieving right now.”
It’s estimated that a third to a quarter of people in the backseat don’t buckle up with young people being the worst offenders. “While you may say ‘Ok, I’m going to buckle my infant, but my son is 15, he doesn’t have to.’ Well now that 15-year-old is going to be free in that vehicle and can potentially hurt the infant as well as you, the driver,” said Bromen.
Current law only requires the driver, front seat passenger, and children under the age of seven to wear restraints, but a bill now sits on the governor’s desk that could change that. House Bill 2724 would require all passengers to wear a seat belt. Something Brian Pearse says is a step in the right direction, but he hopes it’s something people will do regardless. “ You could be guilt ridden the rest of your life, the fact that I could have put my child in a seat belt. I don’t care if the child screams. I’d rather hear the cry than the silence.”