Ohio bill would let cops stop drivers for seat belts

| 9/8/2003

A proposal in the Ohio Senate would permit police to pull over drivers who are not buckled up.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Armbruster, R-North Ridgeville, would create a primary law for seat-belt enforcement. Currently, police can ticket drivers and passengers for seat-belt violations only after stopping a vehicle for another traffic violation.

Under SB125, an unbelted driver could be fined $30 and a front-seat passenger, $20. No points would be assessed on the driver’s license.

If signed into law, it would put Ohio in line for additional federal money.

The Bush administration recently proposed an incentive program to encourage states to increase seat-belt enforcement. The program would provide grants worth $100 million a year for highway safety or construction programs to states that pass a primary seat-belt law or show a seat-belt-usage rate of at least 90 percent.

Ohio is one of about 30 states without a primary seat-belt law. The state’s usage rate is 73 percent, The Toledo Blade reported.