A proposal in the South Carolina Legislature to permit
police to pull over drivers who are not buckled up is dead for the year.
H3128, which passed the House this spring, was never taken
up by the full Senate before lawmakers adjourned in June.
The bill would have created a primary law for seat-belt
enforcement. Under current law, police cannot ticket drivers for seat-belt
violations unless the driver is pulled over for another traffic violation.
It forbade police to search vehicle occupants solely for a
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Joel Lourie, D-Columbia, sought
passage of the bill to put South Carolina 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.
Carolina is one of about 30 states without a primary seat-belt law. The state^s
usage rate is 73 percent, The State newspaper reported recently.