This literally would be the most painless way Kansas could put $10 million into the state general fund.
As part of the proposals he announced Friday to balance the state budget for the current fiscal year, Gov. Mark Parkinson said he was urging state legislators to pass a primary seat belt law for Kansas. Such a law would allow law enforcement officers to stop and ticket motorists solely because they were not wearing seat belts. Current state law allows tickets for not wearing a seat belt only as a secondary offense, meaning motorists must be stopped for some other infraction first.
Passing a primary seat belt law would bring an estimated $11 million in federal funds to the state. Some of the money would be for highway projects, but $10 million could go into the state general fund to help offset the current budget shortfall.
That’s a short-term gain for the state. The long-term gain would be a law that has increased seat-belt use in other states and reduced traffic deaths. Even without additional enforcement, simply having the law on the books will encourage more people to buckle up.
It’s something the state should do even if it didn’t need the $11 million. With the money incentive, it’s simply a no-brainer.