Seat Belts And Politics Are On A Collision Course


The evergreen issue of seat belts is on the agenda in many states as legislatures move toward adjournment, says USA Today. Proponents argue that such laws save lives, while opponents counter that they are an unnecessary government intrusion. For states confronting deep budget gaps this year, the debate has an added resonance: Transportation grants that Congress made available to states that enact mandatory seat belt laws expire June 30. Florida and Arkansas recently enacted such laws, and at least four other states are considering similar measures.
Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia now have “primary” seat belt laws, which allow officers to stop people solely for not wearing seat belts; 21 states have “secondary” laws, which permit police to ticket motorists for not wearing seat belts only if they stop them for another offense. New Hampshire has no seat belt law for adults. Legislators in Minnesota, Missouri, Vermont and Wisconsin are debating primary seat belt laws; measures to strengthen seat belt laws failed this year in states including Colorado, Kansas, Nevada and New Hampshire.

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