10 / 23 / 2019
  - 11:08:42 AM
Lawmakers Trying To Stiffen Seat Belt Laws
  

By MyFM's Rick Michaels - For at least the seventh consecutive legislative session, lawmakers and driving safety advocates are asking legislators to give police the ability to pull over and ticket drivers, if anyone in the car is not wearing a seat belt period. For years, plans to stiffen penalties under the state's seat belt law have buckled in the face of racial profiling and privacy considerations. Under the current law, police officers in Massachusetts can only issue a ticket for a violation of the seat belt law if they pull the driver over for another offense. Meanwhile State Representative Jeffrey Roy of Franklin who also represents Medway has filed in the House that would increase the fines for seat belt violations and would make the violation a primary offense, for which police can stop drivers. The bill, which has nine co sponsors, would see drivers and passengers over the age of 16 fined $50 for not wearing seat belts. The driver would be charged an additional $50 for each passenger between the ages of 12 and 16 who were not wearing belts. It would make Massachusetts the 35th state in the country to allow police officers to pull cars over if the driver or passengers are not wearing a seat belt. Roy said the Bay State's rate of seat belt usage is 81.6 percent, lagging behind the nationwide average of 90 percent. Roy says his bill specifies that seat belt violations would not "result in surcharges on motor vehicle insurance premiums," and that police officers could not search the car or it's occupants solely because of a seat belt violation.

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