In W.Va., expect to get pulled over for not wearing seat belt
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Police officers could stop drivers for seat-belt violations alone in West Virginia under a measure passed Thursday by the House of Delegates, following years of failed attempts and an emotional debate in which both sides invoked loved ones lost to vehicle crashes.
State law requires seat belts for drivers, front-seat passengers and anyone younger than 18 in a rear seat. But not wearing a seat belt is a secondary offense, meaning that a driver must be pulled over for some other violation to be cited.
The House vote was 55-44. If the measure wins final passage and becomes law, West Virginia would join 31 states that treat failing to use a seat belt as a primary offense. Those who violate it would face a $25 fine and possibly court costs. The law provides for a fine of up to that amount but bars assessing court costs.
The bill now heads to the Senate, which passed such a measure by a wide margin last year.
Advocates who spoke during Thursday's debate included Delegate Margaret Smith. The Lewis County Democrat's voice trembled as she recalled the night her family got a phone call telling them her brother had been killed in a crash. She said she considered her vote among the most important she has cast as a legislator.
“We're going to save some lives,” Smith said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Texas man charged with helping friend’s bid to join ISIS
- Airman kills 1 in North Dakota store
- Baltimore gets bloodier as arrests drop post-riots
- Health care law’s supporters encounter resistance from federal judge
- Texas rivers threaten cities downstream
- Detroit-area police officer to stand trial in driver’s beating
- EPA’s temporary pesticide-free zones would protect commercial honeybees
- Former GOP House Speaker Hastert indicted in banking violation
- California man beaten by deputies on video faces charges
- Pataki formally opens White House bid, 8th from GOP
- Tar balls wash ashore in California