TOPEKA – After June 30, Kansas law enforcement officers will be able to issue tickets to driver’s that aren’t bucked in.
Thursday, Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, signed the state’s Primary Seat Belt law. Current law requires drivers to wear a seat belt, but officers can only ticket them for not doing so if the vehicle is pulled over for a different violation.
The new law means law enforcement can stop a vehicle and issue tickets if the driver or their passengers are not wearing seat belts.
From June 30 until July 1, 2011 the fine will be $5, after that point it will increase to $10.
“The passage of the primary seat belt bill is a great traffic safety improvement that will positively impact Kansas families and travelers. Law enforcement officers know that many fatalities in the state could have been prevented, had the person simply fastened their safety belt,” said Kansas Patrol Superintendent, Colonel Terry Maple.
The new law, will allow Kansas to receive $11 million from the federal government. A small portions of the funds, $1 million, must be used for public safety programs but the remaining $10 million will go into the state general funds.
“Wearing a safety belt is the simplest thing any of us can do to keep ourselves safe while riding in a car or truck,” said Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller, in a written statement. “If you haven’t been buckling up for yourself or for those who count on you to return home safely every day, do it now because it’s the law.”
Kansas’ seat belt use rate is 77 percent, below the national average of 84 percent.
Transportation officials have said they expect the new law will increase the number of people who wear their seat belts.