caught not wearing their seat belts could be pulled over under legislation in
the West Virginia House.
Currently, police in the state can issue seat-belt citations
to drivers only after stopping a vehicle for another traffic violation.
The measure, filed by Delegate Corey Palumbo, D-Charleston,
would create a primary law for seat-belt enforcement.
Palumbo sponsored a similar effort last year. It failed to
make its way out of a House panel.
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 West Virginia
to strengthen its law.
Dr. Jeffrey Runge, head of NHTSA, said recently the federal
government plans to offer a $17 million, one-time incentive to states that pass
a primary law.
West Virginia 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.
is in the House Judiciary Committee.