Drivers caught not wearing their seat belts could be pulled
over under legislation pending in the Alaska Legislature.
Currently, police in
the state can issue seat-belt citations to drivers only after stopping them for
another traffic violation.
introduced by Sen. Con Bunde, R-Anchorage, would create a primary law for
Bunde sponsored a
similar effort last session. It failed to pass the House after passing the
While supporters of a primary seat-belt law sometimes point
to federal money the state would lose for failing to scrap its secondary law,
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says no direct grant funds
are doled out for having a primary law.
However, there could
be a financial perk for Alaska to strengthen its law.
Jeffrey Runge, head
of the NHTSA, said recently the federal government plans to offer a $17
million, one-time incentive to states that pass a primary law.
Alaska is one of 28
states without the stricter provision. Twenty-one states allow police to
pull over drivers solely for not wearing their seat belts. New Hampshire is the
only state without a mandatory seat-belt law.
SB87 is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.