Legislation passed by the state Senate on Thursday would allow police to pull over and fine motorists who aren’t buckled up. The state already requires seat belts for all motorists, but adult drivers can only be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt if they were first pulled over for another violation, such as speeding.
The measure passed the Senate 25-13. Supporters said a stronger law would save about four more lives every year and prevent many more traffic injuries. Opponents argued the state cannot force common sense through legislation. Some senators also fear police could use the new law to target minority drivers.
The House has scheduled a vote on similar legislation next week.