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Archive for Saturday, December 29, 2007

Law change: Teens now must buckle up or pay up

Youths will be ticketed for not wearing seat belts at all times

December 29, 2007

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Olie Bowden, left, and Kendall Goodden buckle up in Goodden's car after shopping in downtown Lawrence. A new state law will set the fine for not wearing a seat belt at $10.

Olie Bowden, left, and Kendall Goodden buckle up in Goodden's car after shopping in downtown Lawrence. A new state law will set the fine for not wearing a seat belt at $10.

On the street

Do you think police should be able to pull over teenagers for not wearing their seat belts?

I don’t think that’s necessary. It would just cause a lot of stress for teenagers and distract the police from more important pursuits.

More responses

Come Tuesday, law enforcement officers start writing tickets if they find teenagers aren't wearing their seat belts.

Changes in Kansas seat belt laws went into effect in July, requiring all drivers and passengers who are ages 14 through 17 to buckle up - no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle.

Since then, there has been a grace period during which officers spent time educating the public instead of writing tickets, Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Edna Buttler said. Now the ink pens and the ticket pads are coming out. Ticket price: $60.

"They've had a long time to prepare," Buttler said of teen drivers.

Now, officers can stop a vehicle if they see a teenage driver isn't wearing a seat belt, even if no other traffic violations are observed. Previously, not wearing a seat belt was a secondary violation and drivers could not be stopped solely for that reason.

In mid-December, the state sent reminders about the law to high schools, said Chris Bortz, assistant bureau chief for traffic safety with the Kansas Department of Transportation. Posters also were sent.

"We're hoping they made announcements at the schools," Bortz said. "We were hoping to catch them right before Christmas break."

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Kansas teens who are between 15 and 18 years old.

"It takes five seconds or less to buckle your seat belt, which could make the difference of a lifetime," KDOT Secretary Deb Miller said in the news release.

During 2008, the state will conduct a compliance study to see whether teens are obeying the seat belt law. Observers will check locations where teens can be found in 20 counties, including Douglas County, Bortz said.

Generally that will be around high schools. Observers will watch from along the streets near four-way stops and other locations where traffic is slow, Bortz said.

"It's very reliable. So many vehicles have seat belts and shoulder harnesses, so it is easy to see," he said.

The state law has not changed for adults. Adult drivers and passengers in the front seat are required to buckle up, but passengers in the back seat are not. If an adult is driving, an officer must still see another violation before the driver can be stopped.

Adults should be a model of seat belt use for their children, Miller said.

"Adults should lead children by example by buckling up every trip, every time they ride in a vehicle and by asking other adults to do the same," she said.

Comments

Zype 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm just interested in knowing how exactly they intend to "know" that it's a teenager within the age limit of 15-17 driving.

I'm 20, I have to visit the high schools a lot for one of my jobs, and look moderately young.

Now say I didn't wear a seatbelt, would this go out the window with this new law? Since the officer will probably mistake me to be younger? "If an adult is driving, an officer must still see another violation before the driver can be stopped."

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a2thek 6 years, 3 months ago

Most kids that age still live at home and dont work or only work during the summertime. BOy, parents are going to have to make sure they have it in their extra spending account to pay for their kids tickets or a raise in allowance.

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blackwalnut 6 years, 3 months ago

I think the school buses and city buses do not have seat belts simply because of cost.

I've also heard the lame argument that kids would hurt each other by hitting each other with the seat belt buckles.

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justthefacts 6 years, 3 months ago

My family has lost several teens in single car accidents. None were wearing a seat belt at the time. And at least one would be alive today if she'd been using a seat belt. Ticket or not ticket, no one of any age (who wants to live thru a car crash) should start the car until their seat belt is buckled on. Period.

I haven't done the research myself, but I have been told that wearing a seat belt in a bus would not prevent injury in the same way it does for a much smaller vehicle. Something about how crashes of buses work. I personally think that makes little sense; they require us to buckle up in planes don't they?

Can anyone find out why buses are not even built with a belt in place? Is there some study on use of seat belts in buses? Or is it simply a cost issue?

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 years, 3 months ago

Seat belts on buses would not only help with their safety, but might help the poor bus driver with discipline problems. They couldn't move around as easily,

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blackwalnut 6 years, 3 months ago

It makes no sense that seat belts are not included in school buses.

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 years, 3 months ago

No one riding in our car goes anywhere without first buckling up. The first time our son tried to rebel against the rule, we told him he had to get out of the car. He's well trained now, and I see him putting on seatbelts in friends cars. In a car I owned in the 90's I had a sticker that said "Please buckle up. I care about you." I wish I could find some more of those stickers. Can't even remember where I got it.

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rcr 6 years, 3 months ago

Anonymous user

idarastar wrote: "Both of the kids driving are both 15? I thought at that age you were only permitted to drive to work and school?"

Good question. Why are they driving while shopping?

Under this law who gets the ticket, the passanger or the driver?

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jaythomp11 6 years, 3 months ago

isn't the legal age for recreational driving 16? what are 2 15 year olds doing driving downtown? (picture)

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labmonkey 6 years, 3 months ago

We worry about seat belts, yet do nothing about cell phones. A teenager (or JOCO soccer mom for that matter) driving with a cell phone to their ear is more dangerous than an alcohol impaired driver. And some people even text while driving which is worse. Cell phones should be banned while a vehicle is in operation. And anyone who disagrees just wants to defend their own version of impaired driving.

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idarastar 6 years, 3 months ago

Both of the kids driving are both 15? I thought at that age you were only permitted to drive to work and school? Or some other kind of limitation? I don't know.

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plumberscrack 6 years, 3 months ago

We worry about seat belts for children BUT still don't require seat belts in school buses. We've all seen on the news, these terrible crashes involving school buses; where kids are thrown around like rag dolls but still no seat belts in school buses.....

Amazing...

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