Bill to repeal "primary offense" seatbelt law heard
Posted: 5/16/2012 2:06:37 PM
Updated: 5/16/2012 2:22:39 PM
A bill that would roll back the primary offense seat belt law was heard by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. The bill proposed by Rep. Jared Nunes (D, Coventry, West Warwick) will prevent police officers from pulling over motorist simply because they are not wearing their seatbelts.
The bill would re-establish the seatbelt law as a secondary offense that police can charge a motorist with after they have been pulled over for a different offense. Local Police have been strictly enforcing the new law, setting up roadblocks and pulling over motorists and ticketing them for not wearing a seatbelt. Motorist's are ticketed $85.00 for not wearing a seat belt.
During the hearing, a Department of Transportation official said they will look into how the law is being enforced.
In April, WPROs Matt Allen sent over 1,000 signatures to Rhode Island General Assembly leadership requesting the seatbelt law be repeal. House Speaker Gordon Fox responded to the petition supporting the law mentioning that 31 states have also enacted primary seatbelt laws.
Nunes told the Matt Allen Show in April that the bill was enacted to help Rhode Island qualify for federal funds but noted that the enforcement has been over the top and detrimental to some of his constituents.
The bill has been held for further study.
Dee DeQuattro | WPRO News
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