MoDOT Wants Seatbelt Law Tightened
MoDOT wants to reduce Missouri driving fatalities to less than 1,000 a year by 2008, and a primary seat belt law might go a long way toward meeting that goal.
Some legislators are behind a bill that "permits a law enforcement officer to enforce the seatbelt law if the violation is clearly visible without stopping the vehicle." But, other lawmakers are concerned about problems the law could create.
"The African-American community has kind of asked me to hold up my full support of this because they sort of feel like they get pulled over unnecessarily sometimes and they feel this gives them another reason to be pulled over," said Democratic Rep. Wayne Henke of Troy.
Republican Sen. Bill Stouffer of Napton says the proposed law protects people who can't protect themselves.
"I think it's important we support the primary seatbelt law because it does protect children," he said. "And, when adults buckle up, they buckle their children up."
Drivers are also considering the issues.
"I don't feel comfortable with racial profiling in any sort of way," said Robert Logan. "But, I do feel that buckling up is a safety factor that I feel we all need to have because it does save lives."
Kimberly Woods said, "I don't think it should really be passed, just because I think it's people's choice if they want to wear a seatbelt or not. But, if it does get passed, then I most definitely would wear mine just because it's a silly thing to be pulled over for."
MoDOT says the law would increase seatbelt use by 11% and could save as many as 90 lives each year.