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Va. Senate passes bill strengthening seat-belt law; measure heads to the House of Delegates

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Senate has passed a bill to allow police to pull over and ticket drivers for not wearing a seat belt.

The bill passed 24 to 16 Wednesday and heads to the House of Delegates, where similar efforts have died in past years.

Currently, police can only issue tickets for not wearing seat belts if the driver is pulled over for some other traffic violation. This bill would allow a ticket for anyone in the front seat not wearing a seat belt.

Another bill also passed the Senate. Republican Sen. Thomas Norment (James City) proposed a less-strict measure, something he dubbed the "dumb driver bill." It would allow police to ticket those stopped at traffic safety checkpoints who are not wearing a seat belt.

Norment's proposal passed on a 26 to 14 vote.

-- Associated Press

  • Here's a recent Washington Post editorial on attempts to strengthen the seat-belt law in Virginia.
  • Here's a link to a compilation by the Governors Highway Safety Association that shows what the seat-belt laws are across the country. In the District and Maryland, not wearing a seat belt is a primary offense. In Maryland, the fine is $25 for a first offense, according to the GHSA. In the District, it's $50.
  • What do you think? Should police be able to stop you for not wearing a seat belt? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below or visiting our discussion forum, Taken for a Ride.



By Michael Bolden  |  January 28, 2010; 10:22 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Transportation Politics , highways  
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Comments

People who refuse to wear seat belts think their lives are the only ones at risk. In fact, all other lives in the car are at risk because an unsecured body can become a very heavy projectile during a collision. I don't understand why anyone would refuse to wear a seat belt. I support this law 100%.

Posted by: FairfaxKris | January 28, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why anyone wouldn't wear a seat belt, but I'm not a fan of "seatbelt checkpoints" that operate like DUI checkpoints where the cops scrutinize each car. The cops in Durham, NC, used to operate those when I lived there, and they inevitably backed up the traffic big-time every time they did it.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 28, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Good point 1995hoo. Common sense law, but the gestapo overzealous inforcement is the problem.

Posted by: 123cartoon | January 28, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

We need some Gestapo clearing the doors of Metro trains.

Posted by: member5 | January 28, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Seat belt responsibility should be promoted, not simply penalized.

A drunk wearing a seat belt who speeds and crashes will survive better than a sober driver doing the limit who crashes without a seat belt.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 28, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Anyone, front or back seat, can become a 'projectile' and cause the driver to lose control even if the driver is belted. The unbelted driver is at risk for losing control even if otherwise fully complying with the laws. If another vehicle collides and causes a spin, the unbelted driver may be unable to maintain control.
Seat belt use by all occupants should be the law. Incompetent VA legislators who think they are supporting 'personal rights' are way off base. Any unbelted occupant - especially a driver - puts all others on the surrounding road at potential risk.

Posted by: mapuser | January 28, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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