Minnesota bill requires drivers to buckle up

| Tuesday, April 20, 2004

A proposal in the Minnesota Senate would permit police to pull over drivers who are not buckled up. It would also hike the fine from $25 to $300.

The measure, SF2550, sponsored by Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, would create a primary law for seat-belt enforcement. Currently, police can ticket drivers only after stopping a vehicle for another traffic violation.

Murphy’s bill would make the seat-belt violation a petty misdemeanor; Most of the fine would go to pay for drug detoxification services provided by counties, and the rest would pay for emergency medical services, the Fairmount Sentinel reported.

If signed into law, it would put Minnesota 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.

SF2550 is in the Senate Finance Committee.

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