State lawmakers have the seatbelt bill back before them. The Senate Transportation Committee approved the measure Tuesday.
The bill would make failure to wear a seatbelt a primary traffic offense, which means a driver could be pulled over for that alone. Right now it’s a secondary offense. The driver has to be pulled over for something else first.
Transportation Committee Chairman Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, says the bill had good momentum last year until dying in the last few days of the session in the House Judiciary Committee. He hopes it will be different this year.
“Timing is right for this piece of legislation,” Sen. Beach told MetroNews. “After the success with the governor’s bill last year with texting and cell phone use–I think the timing is great. It’s a good fit and marries well with those pieces of legislation.”
State lawmakers passed a bill last year that made texting while driving a primary offense and using a handheld cell phone while driving a secondary offense. The cell phone provision will become a primary offense this July.
The seatbelt bill that passed Beach’s committee Tuesday does require everyone in the vehicle to be properly restrained not just those in the front seat and children like the current law. The bill includes a few exceptions.
The fine would stay the same as the secondary offense is now, $25 with no court costs.
The bill now moves on the Senate Judiciary Committee.