I can remember when Old Sam handed down the old farm truck to my classmate Billy Bob. That old diesel still had plenty of life. However, we all put so much oil in that motor that it could've been mistaken as a mosquito fogging machine. The “unburnt” diesel and “burnt” oil was noticeable on every road we traveled. You know they say it takes a village to raise a child and just about that many of us to feed that belching, smoking beast. Ah, but that old clunker was freedom from our pedestrian days.
Since it took all of us to feed this monster, we all were determined to ride. Just to feel the wind in our hair and be free - the only freedom known to teenagers. Since there was no console or back seat, the only available seating was the bench seat and the bed, of course. We could put four on the bench seat. As for the rest of us… well, with the tailgate up, we could put six in the bed with room to stretch out our legs with our backs against the tailgate body. Yessir, the 60s were truly a great time, notwithstanding the occasional truck rollover. Hay rides, parades, fishing, and camping trips were all tailor made for pickup trucks brimming with wide eyed teens looking for their next thrill.
Fast forward fifty years, and many more rollovers, the pick-up now has a back seat, lots of new sound devices, cell phones, wifi, seatbelts in the front and back, and huge motors that push these behemoths at super speeds. Mississippi has finally decided to require all passengers to wear a seatbelt. Previously, the law only required front seat passengers and children under the age of seven to wear a seatbelt. This seatbelt law effectively bans passengers from riding in the bed of trucks.
On July 1, 2017, new road laws went into effect in Mississippi. First, as I've previously stated, people are not permitted to ride in the back of pickup trucks anymore since every passenger must be buckled up. Second, the driver of a vehicle can now be given a ticket if any of the inside passengers are not wearing seatbelts. And finally, a driver may only be in the left lane if he/she is passing another vehicle or making a left lane turn.
While the fine is only $25.00, these are cases where the driver receives the ticket for offending passengers, and further court costs will more than quadruple the actual fine.
When I grew up – before I55 was built – the travel time anywhere was long and dangerous on our two lane roads. Now that our state has many more four lane roads, most drivers like to simply travel in the left passing lane due to deterioration of the right travel lane. As a result of this new law, unless you are passing or making a left lane turn, law enforcement will now be allowed to write tickets for left lane travel even though this traffic violation will be based more on the officer's observation on how long you stay in the left lane after passing.
Mississippians will have differing opinions of the new laws. Many believe these laws are necessary to keep the roads safe, however, others find these laws to be nothing more than a scheme to take more money out of drivers' pockets. If you have questions about these new laws, please feel free to contact us at our office. You can reach us at 601-948-4444 or visit our website. Also see us on avvo.com, superlawyers.com, and martindale.com.