1997 Regular Session
To: Highways and Transportation
By: Senator(s) White (29th)
Senate Bill 2617
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 63-2-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE USE OF A SAFETY BELT BY CHILDREN OF A CERTAIN AGE WHO ARE TRANSPORTED IN A PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE, REGARDLESS OF THE SEAT THAT SUCH CHILDREN OCCUPY; TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE"; TO AMEND SECTION 63-2-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ONLY ONE FINE SHALL BE IMPOSED ON AN OPERATOR FOR ALL VIOLATIONS OF SEAT BELT USE BY PASSENGERS IF HIS VEHICLE IS STOPPED AND TO ELIMINATE SEAT BELT VIOLATIONS BY CHILDREN OF A CERTAIN AGE AS A PRIMARY OFFENSE; TO AMEND SECTION 63-7-301, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REDEFINE THE TYPES OF MOTOR VEHICLES IN WHICH THE TRANSPORTATION OF A CHILD IS REQUIRED TO BE PROTECTED THROUGH THE USE OF A CHILD PASSENGER RESTRAINT DEVICE OR SYSTEM; TO REPEAL SECTION 63-7-307, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES THAT A PERSON WHO IS CHARGED WITH A VIOLATION OF THE CHILD PASSENGER RESTRAINT DEVICES LAW MAY HAVE THE CHARGE DISMISSED IF SUCH PERSON PRODUCES TO THE COURT AT OR BEFORE THE HEARING PROOF OF ACQUISITION OF THE REQUIRED CHILD RESTRAINT DEVICE OR SYSTEM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 63-2-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
63-2-1. (1) Whenever a passenger motor vehicle is operated in forward motion on the highways of this state, every operator, every front-seat passenger and every child who is at least four (4) years of age but under twelve (12) years of age, regardless of the seat that such child occupies, shall wear a properly fastened safety seat belt system, required to be installed in the vehicle when manufactured pursuant to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208. Children under the age of four (4) years shall be protected as required by Sections 63-7-301 through 63-7-313.
(2) "Passenger motor vehicle" for purposes of this chapter means a motor vehicle designed to carry fifteen (15) or fewer passengers, including the driver, but does not include motorcycles, mopeds, all-terrain vehicles or trailers.
(3) This section shall not apply to:
(a) Vehicles which may be registered for "farm" use, including "implements of husbandry" as defined in Section 63-21-5(d), and "farm tractors" as defined in Section 63-3-105(a).
(b) An operator or passenger possessing a written verification from a licensed physician that he is unable to wear a safety belt system for medical reasons.
(c) A passenger car operated by a rural letter carrier of the United States Postal Service or by a utility meter reader while on duty.
SECTION 2. Section 63-2-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
63-2-7. (1) A violation of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) upon conviction; however, only the operator of a vehicle may be fined for a violation of this chapter by the operator or for a violation of this chapter by a * * * passenger. * * * Only one (1) fine shall be imposed against the operator for a violation of this chapter by the operator or by a front-seat passenger or by a child who is at least four (4) years of age but under twelve (12) years of age unless at the time the operator was charged with a violation of this chapter he also was charged with some other offense and he is convicted of both offenses. The maximum fine that may be imposed against the operator of a vehicle for a violation of this chapter by the operator or for a violation of this chapter by one or more * * * passengers shall be Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) in the aggregate.
(2) A violation of this chapter shall not be entered on the driving record of any individual so convicted, nor shall any state assessment provided for by Section 99-19-73, or any other state law, be imposed or collected.
SECTION 3. Section 63-7-301, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
63-7-301. (1) Every person transporting a child under the age of four (4) years in a passenger motor vehicle, * * * and operated on the roadways, streets or highways of this state, shall provide for the protection of the child by properly using a child passenger restraint device or system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
(2) The term "passenger motor vehicle" as used in Sections 63-7-301 through 63-7-311 has the same meaning as defined in Section 63-2-1(2). Sections 63-7-301 through 63-7-311 do not apply to the vehicles described in Section 63-2-1(3).
(3) Failure to provide and use a child passenger restraint device or system shall not be considered contributory or comparative negligence.
SECTION 4. Section 63-7-307, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides that a person who is charged with a violation of the child passenger restraint devices law may have the charge dismissed if such person produces to the court at or before the hearing proof of acquisition of the required child restraint device or system, is repealed.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.