A group of
lawmakers want to permit police to pull over drivers in the state who are not
Currently, police can issue seat-belt citations to drivers only after
stopping a vehicle for another traffic violation, such as speeding.
Rep. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, and Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford,
are among the legislators pushing a primary law for seat-belt enforcement in an
effort to boost the state’s 65 percent usage rate.
“The bottom line is, accidents are always going to happen, no matter
what the legislature passes,” Eldridge told the North Adams
Transcript. “The bill will save lives.”
An effort to adopt the stricter enforcement is expected to be brought
to the House floor later this week.
Supporters are hopeful this year will be different for primary
enforcement legislation. Similar efforts stalled twice since 2001 on rare tie
votes in the House.
Despite lawmakers’ inability to adopt stricter rules on buckling up,
could be in line for additional federal dollars if it passes a primary
enforcement bill by Dec. 31, 2008.
The Highway Bill approved by Congress this past summer gives any state
that adopts tougher seat-belt rules or achieves a belt usage rate of 85 percent
one-time grant money equal to 500 percent of the highway funding they received
is one of 27 states without the stricter provision. Twenty-two states allow
police to pull over drivers solely for not wearing their seat belts.
only state without a mandatory seat-belt law.