lawmaker has amended legislation intended to ensure drivers cannot be arrested
for failure to wear seat belts.
Thad Balkman, R-Norman, attached an amendment earlier this month to SB391.
The amendment provides that any driver stopped in Oklahoma for a traffic
violation – such as failure to wear a seat belt – “shall be released at
said in a statement that anyone found to be driving without a valid driver's
license or driving while intoxicated would be exempt from the protection.
stems from an incident in Texas that reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
a mother and her children were driving through a residential area in Lago
Vista, TX, looking for a lost toy, when a police officer pulled them over
for not wearing seat belts, Balkman said. The officer handcuffed the woman
in front of her children, impounded her pickup and took her to the police
station, where her “mug shot” photo was taken and she was locked in a cell
for about an hour. She was released from custody after posting $310 bond
and paying $110 to retrieve her vehicle.
version of the bill raced through the House by a 99-1 vote on April 14
and was returned to the Senate.