would be permitted to pull over drivers in Minnesota if someone in the vehicle
is not buckled up under a bill approved by a House panel.
House Transportation Committee voted overwhelmingly March 29 in favor of
HF1087, a bill that would create a primary law for seat-belt enforcement.
Currently, police can issue seat-belt citations to drivers
only after stopping a vehicle for another traffic violation.
Sponsored by Rep. Duke Powell, R-Burnsville, the bill also
would double the fine for not wearing a seat belt to $50. No points would be
assessed against the driver’s license.
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 Minnesota to
strengthen its law.
Jeffrey Runge, head of NHTSA, said recently the federal
government plans to offer a $17 million, one-time incentive to states that
passed a primary law.
Minnesota is one of 28 states without the stricter version. 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.
now moves to the Public Safety Policy and Finance Committee.