A key Missouri state lawmaker predicted this week that a
bill to permit police to pull over drivers for not buckling up will become law.
Senate Transportation Committee Chair Jon Dolan told a group
of lawmakers Nov. 30 that a primary seat belt law is important for safety and could
bring the state millions of dollars in federal incentive money.
Under current law, police
can issue seat-belt citations in Missouri only if they stop drivers for another
“Seat belts will pass
this year, or many (other) bills will die,” Dolan, R-Lake St. Louis, said
during a meeting of the Missouri Legislature’s Joint Transportation Oversight
committee. “It’s just something that we have to do.”
The penalty for a
driver, front seat passenger or child not wearing a seat belt “will only be
$15. No court costs. No incident search. No points,” Dolan said.
If signed into law,
the regulation could put the state in line for $16 million in additional
funding from the federal government, The Associated Press reported.
Dolan said he also
might support efforts to do away with Missouri’s mandatory motorcycle helmet
law if that will help pass the seat belt provision.
But he doesn’t
support a prohibition against open alcohol containers in vehicles.
States that don’t
have such a law must use some of their federal highway dollars on safety
issues, such as guardrails and road signs, but they don’t lose any federal
seat-belt provisions and a ban on open alcohol containers are among the
Missouri Department of Transportation’s legislative goals for the session that
begins in January.