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Seat-belt headed to Senate floor in Delaware

| Friday, June 20, 2003

A bill that would permit police officers to pull over drivers for failure to wear a seat belt has been reported out of the Senate Public Safety Committee in Delaware and is headed toward a vote on the Senate floor. 

HB43, sponsored by Rep. William A. Oberle, would make failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense. Under current law, police can issue seat-belt citations only if they stop drivers for another traffic violation. With new authority, police can pull over drivers if they see anyone in the vehicle not buckled up. The fine would be $28.75.

The House approved the bill May 6, and the Senate Public Safety Committee voted that the bill had merit – neither voting for or against it – June 11. The Senate has until June 30, the end of the session, to make a decision on the bill.

Oberle, R-Beecher’s Lot, said earlier in the session that he was hopeful the bill, if signed into law, would curb injuries in the state resulting from failure to wear a seat belt. “Recently, Delaware has experienced an increase in motor vehicle fatalities. In many cases, the persons killed were not wearing seat belts,” he wrote. “Other states that have enacted primary seat belt laws have seen a corresponding increase in seat belt compliance.”

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