Wisconsin eyes seat-belt initiative

| Monday, April 28, 2003

A Wisconsin lawmaker is pushing legislation that would permit police officers to pull over drivers for failure to wear a seat belt.

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 are not buckled up. Under AB90, the fine would be $25, up from the current $10.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Ainsworth, R-Shawano, is hopeful the bill, if signed into law, would curb injuries in the state resulting from failure to wear a seat belt.

“We have too many people to live completely independent and free lives,” Ainsworth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We each affect each others' lives, like it or not.”

The measure also provides that any driver ticketed in Wisconsin for a seat-belt infraction cannot be taken into custody.

The bill is in the Assembly Transportation Committee. A similar bill – SB37 – is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.