Share your views: Legislation filed to make Missouri a primary seatbelt state

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JEFFERSON CITY - Legislation for a primary seatbelt law has been filed by the Missouri House Transportation Committee chairman. This means you can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt.

“We do have a seatbelt law on the books. It is considered a secondary law which means law enforcement has to observe a driver doing something else like speeding or a lane violation before they can give them a seatbelt ticket,” said MODOT Highway Safety Program Manager, Scott Jones.

Missouri is one of 16 other states that does not already have a primary seatbelt law, according to MODOT. 

Of the 870 fatalities on the road this year, 64 percent were unbuckled, according to Jones.

Jones said this legislation has been introduced before, but has not gotten much traction.

KOMU 8 posted a poll to hear viewers’ thoughts on Missouri becoming a primary seatbelt state. The yes and no votes swung back and forth with the final result below. 

Many viewers commented their opinions on the proposed law:

“I think if you want to sign something that waives your right to be on life support because of injuries sustained due to not wearing a seatbelt or a helmet got for it, that way everyone’s insurance, etc. isn’t paying for your choice,” said viewer Debbie Shivers.

Another viewer brought up the issue of students wearing safety belts on school busses.

“And yet a bus full of 60 kids with no restraints? Tell me how that makes sense?” said Bobbi Meyer.

Ryan McCreery said, “This is very dangerous legislation. This allows road pirates, the minions of politicians, to infringe on the rights of citizens even more. There is no way to always tell whether somebody has a seatbelt on from another vehicle. Wearing a seatbelt should be a choice.”

Heather Irvin said, “While everyone should wear one this just gives police an excuse to pull people over and collect fines. We don’t need the police having any more power to mess with people, I fear this will be misused in certain areas where profiling is high.”

Jones said other communities in the state, 53 cities and two counties, currently have local ordinances enforcing primary seatbelt policy. St. Louis County and Kansas City are among the list.

Missouri ranked last in NSC's State of Safety report released this June. The NSC gave Missouri an “F” on its report that focused on road, home and workplace safety.  Missouri ranked 49 out of 51 states in road safety.

One of the things the national safety council report rated Missouri on was having a secondary seatbelt law.

“To put that into a primary status would increase our ranking at least in that one level,” Jones said.  

The upcoming legislation session starts at the beginning of January.

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