Lawmakers Take Another Crack at Seat Belt Law

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – A plan that would let police stop and ticket drivers not wearing seat belts is before the Legislature again.

The plan has failed in past years. But supporters say it is time to force more motorists to buckle up.

A long line of people, many of whom lost friends or relatives in traffic crashes, told the Senate Highway and Transportation Committee the law would save lives.

The measure would make not wearing a seat belt a primary offense — meaning police would have the power to stop a car for the infraction. Current state law allows police to write tickets for failure to use seat belts or child restraints, but only after stopping the driver for another offense.

Opponents say seat belts should be a personal choice.

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