Utah Legislators have "missed out" on $1.2 million from the feds for not having a "Primary Seat Belt Law".
In Utah one can only get cited for not using a seat belt if another infraction is the reason for being pulled over by law enforcement. The feds want Utah to change that law so that Utah can receive additional monies for highway-safety improvements. In other words, the money is conditional.
Utah Legislators feel that imposing a primary seat belt law would be infringing on one’s right to think for him/herself.
"Missing out on a million dollars to preserve that right is absolutely appropriate," said Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden.
Statistics show that Utah already has a high compliance rate with wearing seatbelts.
National studies find that about half the people killed in traffic accidents while not wearing seat belts would survive if they buckled up, Hull said. States that adopt laws allowing traffic stops for seat belts reduce traffic fatalities by anywhere from 7 percent to 11 percent, he said.
The lives saved by such a law in Utah could be on the low end because of the state’s already-high compliance rate.
While many feel that wearing seatbelts is a matter of common sense, and while the extra million dollars would help with the current budget situation, most legislators are reluctant to even enter a bill for a primary seatbelt law due to the "meddlesome-ness" of many laws already.
Kudos to legislators for not taking the seat belt laws any further. Doing so would cross the line of individual rights.