Topeka — Save lives. Reduce damage. Get federal money.
Those were the three main reasons given Tuesday in support of Kansas passing a primary seat belt law.
Car makers, insurance companies and law enforcement testified in support of Senate Bill 483. The bill would allow law enforcement to stop a motorist for not wearing a seat belt. Currently, seat belt violations are secondary, which means that law enforcement can ticket an unbelted motorist only if they are first stopped for another infraction.
Experience from other states shows that passage of a primary seat belt law will increase seat belt usage by 10 percent, resulting in saving about 30 lives and 300 incapacitating injuries per year in Kansas, supporters of the bill said.
Passage of the bill also will provide Kansas with approximately $11 million in additional federal transportation funds.
The measure was approved in the Senate in 2009 but died in the House. Some have expressed fears that if passed, the law would be disproportionately used against minorities.
The Senate Transportation Committee took the bill under consideration.