Stricter seat-belt enforcement eyed in Utah

| 12/23/2003

A Utah lawmaker has drafted legislation that would permit police to pull over drivers in the state who are not buckled up.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Karen Hale, D-Salt Lake City, would create a primary law for seat-belt enforcement. Currently, police can ticket drivers only after stopping a vehicle for another traffic violation.

If signed into law, SB71 would put the state in line for additional federal money.

An incentive program recently introduced in Congressencourages states to increase seat-belt enforcement. The program would give states three years to enact a primary seat-belt law or reach a rate of usage of at least 90 percent. Failure to do one or the other would result in a loss of up to 4 percent of federal highway funds to the state.

Utah is one of about 30 states without a primary seat-belt law.