Police in Colorado would be permitted to pull over drivers
who are not buckled up under a bill that is nearing approval in the statehouse.
Currently, police can issue seat-belt citations to drivers
in the state only after stopping a vehicle for another traffic violation, such
The House Transportation and Energy Committee voted 7-4 to
approve a bill - SB151 - that would allow for primary enforcement of the state's
seat-belt law. It now heads to the House floor for further consideration. If
approved there, it would move to the governor's desk. The Senate previously
approved it by an 18-16 vote.
Sponsored by Sen. Joe Rice, D-Littleton, the bill would fine
violators $25 - up from $15 now. No points would be assessed against drivers'
Opponents cite personal choice and the potential for racial
profiling among the concerns about the stricter enforcement effort. Supporters
say saving lives and the lure of federal money should be reason enough to
approve the stricter rule.
Congress approved legislation in 2005 that gives any state
that adopts tougher seat-belt rules or achieves a belt usage rate of 85 percent
one-time federal grant money for roads. Colorado, with a usage rate of 79
percent, could claim $14.5 million, The
Associated Press reported.
Colorado is one of 25 states without the stricter provision.
Twenty-four 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