Due to an odd twist of Mississippi law, regulations state that failure to have a child properly restrained shall not be viewed as contributory or comparative negligence. Even more surprising, the fine for such an offense cannot exceed $25.
The specific law at issue is Mississippi Code Section 63-7-301. The law says, on the one hand, that every driver on Mississippi roadways that is carrying a child under four is required to provide for the protection of the child by using a child restraint device that meets federal safety standards. On the other hand, the law goes on to say that a failure to provide such a device cannot be considered comparative negligence.
In this case, the driver of the car will actually be paying a fee of $139. The reason is that state, local and city governments are each allowed to add on their own violation fees. The woman driving the car at the time of crash will also be fined more than $700 for not having insurance on the car.
The danger of unrestrained children is obvious to those that work as emergency responders. One paramedic from Meridian, Mississippi, interviewed by a local paper said he’s no longer surprised when he gets called to an accident scene involving an unrestrained child. Sadly, such accidents happen all the time. The paramedic says he has responded to accidents across the state and hears parents often claim that the cost of such seats is what has prevented them from using the safety devices. As a result, some are calling for changes to the law to prevent parents from casually not restraining their children in the future.
The tragedy is that the seats can greatly add to the likelihood that a small child will survive a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers who correctly use a child safety seat can reduce the fatality risk of a car accident by 71 percent and serious injury risk by 67 percent. Though the law in Mississippi may not make failing to do so a crime, given the tremendous benefits of the devices, all parents should invest in a seat for their children.
If you’ve been involved in something that requires the skill of an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer, please call us today.