A measure that would allow police to pull over drivers for
not wearing their seat belts gained approval from a House panel this week, and
sponsors expressed hope the effort might pass this year after several years of
Under a 1986 state
law, police can ticket drivers for not buckling up only after stopping a
vehicle for another traffic violation, such as speeding or a bad taillight.
Transportation Committee approved the bill on a 10-4 vote. Its House sponsor,
Boca Raton Democrat Irv Slosberg, has tried for several years to get the
measure – HB3 – passed, motivated by the death of his daughter Dori, who was
killed in a 1996 crash when she wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
“I understand that
the difference between life and death is a seat belt,” Slosberg said at a news
conference Tuesday, Jan. 11.
In the past the bill
has run into opposition from those warning of Big Brother-style government
intrusion or racial profiling.
But Sen. Tony Hill,
D-Jacksonville, who is black, is sponsoring the bill’s Senate version – SB216 – and said Tuesday he was working to relieve those concerns.
“Racial profiling is
not what’s killing our kids,” Hill told The Associated Press. “Not
wearing a seat belt is what’s killing our kids.”
The legislation has
passed in the House in previous sessions, but hasn’t been able to get through
the Senate. Slosberg and Hill said they hope new Senate leaders won’t stand in
the way of the bill when the full Legislature meets for two months starting