Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 4, 2013

W.Va. seat belt bill 1 step closer to passing


Associated Press

CHARLESTON — A bill making the failure to buckle-up a primary offense in West Virginia is moving toward passage.

The bill would let police pull drivers over and fine them $25 for not wearing a seat belt. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan, but non-unanimous voice vote on Thursday.

Seat belt use is already mandatory in West Virginia but it is a secondary offense, meaning an officer has to pull a driver over for another violation first.

The bill narrowly passed the House earlier this week after heavy debate.

Supporters have said the bill will increase seat belt use and save lives.

Opponents have cited issues of personal freedom and responsibility.

The state would get more than $1 million in additional federal highway safety funds if the bill passes.