Minnesota Committee Chair Pushes for Primary Seat Belt Law

January 23, 2009

The chairman of the Minnesota Senate Transportation Committee says 2009 should be the year when Minnesota passes legislation to allow authorities to ticket any motorist for not buckling up.

The so-called primary seat belt legislation has failed for the past several years.

But Sen. Steve Murphy, a Red Wing Democrat, says Minnesota should pass it now because it’s the last year states can receive federal incentive funds for enacting the law.

Currently, police can only ticket motorists for failing to wear their seat belts if they’ve been stopped for another driving offense.

Last year, the legislation failed in the House on a procedural vote.

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher says the legislation has historically been a harder sell in the House, but she says it still has a chance this year.

Opponents say seat belt use should remain a personal choice and others argue police could use it as a basis for racial profiling.

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