Archive for Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kansas lawmakers approve tougher seat belt law

May 11, 2010, 3:48 p.m. Updated May 11, 2010, 5:10 p.m.


— Kansas legislators approved a bill Tuesday making the failure to wear a seat belt a primary traffic offense, ending a nearly decade-long battle over the issue.

The vote was 68-55 to send the bill to Gov. Mark Parkinson for his signature. The measure was supported with hope it would unlock federal funds Kansas could use for safety and transportation programs.

"This is a a compromise that will do what we want to do in the state of Kansas. We will save lives by requiring seat belts," said Rep. Jerry Henry, a Cummings Democrat.

The bill would allow a law enforcement officer to stop a motorist solely for failing to wear a seat belt. For the first year, the fine would be $5 and $10 in the second, with no court costs for either year. The fine is the minimum allowed by federal law.

Opponents argued that while the measure may encourage Kansans to be safer, it continued a federal policy to hold out the promise of money if states take specific policy actions.

"I'm still not a great supporter of having someone tell me to wear my seat belt," said House Transportation Committee Chairman Gary Hayzlett, a Lakin Republican. "I'm not comfortable with the federal government telling me to do something to get my money back."

Kansas is expected to receive some $10 million in federal transportation dollars for enacting the new law.

Two other traffic safety bills won final approval Monday.

One bans texting while driving, with exceptions for voice-activated devices and messages sent to emergency personnel.

The other bill would require anyone convicted of a second offense of driving under the influence to place an interlock device on a vehicle's ignition. The device tests the driver's breath for alcohol and won't allow the vehicle to start if alcohol is detected.


slowplay 8 years ago

"One bans texting while driving, with exceptions for voice-activated devices"... How do you text with a voice activated device? Is there a voice to text app for the iPhone?

veritasETaequitas 8 years ago

I think texting is referring to usage of phones entirely whilst driving with exceptions for voice-activated devices. How they'll determine whether one was using his/her phone after they had already shoved it into their pocket is beyond me?

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

I'm glad that our government could pull a couple of really poor laws out of their butts. I'm not opposed to the 2nd offense DUI law. But the seat belt thing and the redundant law regarding inattentive driving are ridiculous.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years ago

It never ceased to amaze me how the state legislature can find ways to end the budget deficit without taking any responsibility for reducing wasteful spending. That is the initial and sole intent of this "legislation".

riverdrifter 8 years ago

Prediction: This law will be enforced very differently across the state. State troopers & county officers out west will only enforce it on I-70. Otherwise, farmers, oil field workers, rural mail carriers, hunters & locals won't get pulled over for it much. However, this is terrific empowerment for cops who otherwise don't have much else to do in sleepy little towns.

ozzynbn 8 years ago

Yet you can ride around on a motor cycle without a helmet. Where is the common sense in this state?

optimist 8 years ago

More government intrusion into our lives. We look at these as simple insignificant intrusions for public safety. The truth is that they are examples of the incremental destruction of our civil liberties.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years ago

Bud, first of all, the railroad track is PRIVATE PROPERTY. It belongs to the railroad that built it. If you are walking down any railroad track in the United States, you are TRESSPASSING! Period. It has nothing to do with any liberty or constitutional issue. Furthermore, modern locomotives make very little noise and travel at speeds over 70 miles per hour. One could be on you before you are even aware of it. Not very likely, but there are reports far too often of people, usually a kid, hit and killed by a train simply because they want to emulate your childhood habit of walkind down a railroad track. And as for being arrested, this is also unlikely (the first time) but this is the railroad security police doing their jobs to protect your worthless butt, and also to protect the railroad company from lawsuits where some fool will try to sue the railroad for not stopping the train in time. (This is phyically impossible, modern freight trains take as much as a mile or more to stop.)

staff04 8 years ago

What an embarrassment! The Legislature should be ashamed of themselves. With fines maxing out at $10 per offense, this law will be more costly to implement and enforce than it will bring in in revenue. If you don't want the damn seatbelt laws in place, then vote them down--don't support a law that you intend to starve to death.

What a joke.

dphye 7 years, 9 months ago

Defender ; Dude i have preached that concept for over five years now. most people do not realize that we are being trained to do what we are told. Do this don't do that, all thru history that is how tyranny starts, small with seemingly good intent. Until it is too late. It is nice to see some one else saying the same thing.

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