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15 states considering seat-belt law change

Published: Wed, February 4, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

COLUMBUS (AP) — More cash-strapped states want to give law enforcement officers the authority to pull over motorists who aren’t wearing seat belts.

The 15 states, including Ohio, that are considering making the switch need to do so before July to be eligible for millions in federal money.

Ohio would get $26.8 million from the federal government. Currently, law enforcement officers in the state need to have some other reason to stop drivers over before issuing seat-belt citations.

Gov. Ted Strickland proposed the change in his two-year budget plan released Monday. The state Legislature has previously balked at making the change.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia already have primary seat-belt enforcement laws, meaning police can stop a vehicle for a seat belt violation, even if this is the only violation the officers notice.

Ohio faces a $7.3 billion projected budget deficit over the next two years compared to current funding levels, leading Strickland to propose 120 fee and fine hikes, payroll reductions for state employees, and the delay of debt payments into future years.

The federal money attached to seat-belt enforcement can be spent only for highway-related projects.

2008, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


1chocolatebabe304(29 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

I always wear a seat belt,but why bug people about wearing one. What they need to do is put seat belts on the school buses so when an accident happens the kids won't get thrown all over the place.

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2Tugboat(759 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

This is crazy! It's always about $$$$. Coercion is not democracy.

"The difference between a politician and a pickpocket is that a pickpocket doesn't always get indignant when you tell him to keep his hands to himself." -Joe Sobran

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3aeparish(669 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Well... as long as you wear your seat belt, you don't really have much to worry about.

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4aeparish(669 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

The seatbelts I can understand. The speed cameras -- that's just downright stupid.

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5JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

With less people paying income taxes everyday and no end to that trend in sight this beats the alternative of raising taxes for those that still have jobs, no? Do it and don't wait until July.

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6VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Soon, there will be no one on the roads to arrest anyway due to the economic melt down. So, lay-off the patrols.

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7redvert(2239 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Chocolatebabe304 wrote that school buses should have seatbelts. While I agree with her comment I think we all know that a lot of kids would not abide by a policy of wearing the belts. I hate to say it but nowadays a lot of parents would not discipline their kids if they refused to wear belts. They would be quick to sue if the opportunity presented itself though.

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8aeparish(669 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Which is exactly why the state will make so much money off of this. If parents don't force their kids to wear seatbelts in the car(completely disregard the bus idea), then they will have to pay.

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9Rocco(99 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Another Federal Govt. lollipop. The Fed's own all the states. They dangle the lollipop and tell the states to get their money they must follow their instructions. I'm sick of the overpowering Feds. Sick to death of the crooks in DC.

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10NoBS(2819 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Isn't anybody concerned about the erosion of our rights? To simply bleat "Just wear your seat belt." and "Just don't speed" (in regard to the speed cams) shows you just don't get it. If that "just put up with it" mentality had been around 250 years ago, we'd still be under England's rule.

So you think having the Seat Belt Gestapo pulling you over because they think you're not wearing your seat belt, even though you were doing nothing else wrong, is OK? How about if they decide to REALLY enforce the noise ordinances, and are able to pull you over and give you a ticket if they think your tunes are too loud? "Just turn down the volume!" Out west, they can already pull you over and ticket you if the cops see you flick a cigarette butt out the car window. That's littering, and they DO ticket for it. Better not let any gum wrappers blow out the open window!

How about this? I'm a responsible adult, and I'm fully capable of deciding whether I want to strap myself into my car for the big excursion to the Quik E Mart three blocks away. If somebody plows into my car along the way, here's a novel idea: Let's hold the At-Fault driver responsible for his actions!!!

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11aeparish(669 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

NoBS, I know you were probably just trying to prove a point, but in all seriousness, I think that they should enforce the noise ordinances.

I'm really getting sick of hearing rap music that's got so much bass that it could probably cause a magnitude 8 earthquake. Hey, maybe then they'll get more money out of it when they search the cars for drugs. We'll see how many 'gangsters' will go around blaring that crap when they can't afford to keep up with the fines.

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12scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Most new cars have that annoying buzz until you buckel so it's probably a mute point, but I'm looking at this from a slightly different perspective;
A patrolman pulls you over. As he approaches the car you do what most guys do and reach for your wallet to get your license-having to unbuckel the belt in the process. Once the officer gets to the window and tells you he pulled you over because you looked like you weren't wearing your belt (and now aren't) and gives you a ticket. How do you contest this in court? You can't! This is a -guilty cuz you can't be proven innocent - money making scam.
We don't require motorcycle drivers to wear helmets or seatbelts yet they have the ability to travel at much higher rates of speed.

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13pci510(105 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

And just one bad officer can make the whole system look corrupt if they stop you and say you were not wearing a seat belt but actually you were wearing one. Also, since my grandmother died due to a drunk driver it would be more beneficial to make those whom serve alcohol - restuarants, bars, etc have people take breathalizers when leaving and if found under the influence the person must take a cab or call someone to pick them up.

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14ws2000(7 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

When I'm pulled over I keep my hands on the steering wheel until the officer is there at the window.

The seat belt stays on, and the window stays rolled up. I don't reach for my wallet or registration without stating that I am doing so first.

Does it waste the officer's time? Perhaps. Does it reduce the chances of me getting shot by an officer whose nerves might be frayed? I can hope so.

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15samIam(241 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Soon the final spike shall be driven into the heart of free America,of course,in the name your safety. These unwarranted authority incursions into private personal freedoms shall soon move from the streets into our homes,computers,churchs all in the name of your safety. Beware when the "Politicans" wholeheartedly endorse toll roads in the name of fiscal responsibilty,in reality the purpose of toll roads will be to track and stop mass population movement when the masses wake up. Comrade "Just show me your papers"

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16injusticeallover(4 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

"The people should not fear their government, the government should fear their people " (quote from movie) And to comment on samlam the spike has been driven they are just waiting for us to bleed to death!

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17Tugboat(759 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

First they had no laws requiring a driver to wear a seat belt and I did not speak out because there was no need to.

Then they said we had to wear seat belts but police had to spot another violation before ticketing a driver for a seat belt infraction and I did not speak out as that sounded reasonable.

Then they told the cash-strapped states that, if they wanted federal funding, their respective legislatures would have to adopt primary seat belt laws which allow police to stop motorists solely for failing to wear seat belts and I did not speak out because I always used a seat belt.

Then the day came where they needed no reason to stop me and I did not speak out because I had nothing to hide.

Then they said since the federal government is now footing the bill for our nation’s cops and firemen, a federal takeover of these servants is in order and, not thinking this was a goose step or two away from heading towards a police state, I did not speak out.

Then they said since state, local government, banks and industry are living mostly on borrowed money, we have decided that modern government and the Constitution are a poor fit and are reassigning the powers of state and local government to the federal government and by this time it was too late to speak out.

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18cityguy(109 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Hey NoBS" Technically they can ticket you for throwing a cigarette butt out the window in Youngstown too--its littering and its pretty freakin gross. I smoke but I don't toss the butts out the window to litter the sidewalks and streets.

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19antonunj(8 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

the government should have absolutely zero say in whether or not I have to wear a seatbelt or even a motorcycle helmet for that matter. If they could actually think of constructive ways of being fiscally responsible then there would be no "speeding cameras" and they wouldn't be allowed to issue citations for not wearing a seatbelt.

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20tiredsailor(1 comment)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

The seat belt law is no different than any other law in this country that denies you the constitutional rights that everyone THOUGHT that they had. We no longer have any rights that any politician doesn't want us to have.
The law makes you pay for auto ins. to protect someone else's property.You don't have to pay to protect your own property,just someone else's. You have to pay ins. premiums even if you are not responsible for any accidents. I think that all your premiums should be refunded after a year of accident free driving.

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21aeparish(669 comments)posted 7 years, 5 months ago

Tired, I think that is a great idea.

And if not the entire amount, you should at least get a hefty percentage of it.

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