Arizona lawmaker pursues stricter seat-belt enforcement

| 1/26/2004

Drivers caught not wearing their seat belts could be pulled over under legislation in the Arizona Senate.

State Sen. Toni Hellon, R-Tucson, has introduced a bill that would create a primary law for seat-belt enforcement. Currently, police can ticket drivers only after stopping a vehicle for another traffic violation.

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

The fine for not buckling up is $23, the Tucson Citizen reported. That amount would not change under SB1024.

If signed into law, the regulation would put the state in line for additional funding from the federal government.

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.

In Arizona that could translate into $12.5 million, the newspaper reported.