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Seatbelt Enforcement to Become Secondary?


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  • Seatbelt Enforcement to Become Secondary?

    I heard, wish I had the bill in front of me, that there is a bill that has either passed the senate or the house that would make seatbelt enforcement a secondary offense......once again. Anybody else hear that?

    Found it:

    Minnesota House votes to halt seat-belt stops
    By Dennis Lien
    [email protected]
    Updated: 05/17/2011 11:50:26 PM CDT

    By all measures, Minnesota's 2-year-old primary seat-belt law has saved lives.

    But late Monday, as the state House debated a judiciary bill, an amendment repealing it was approved on a bipartisan basis. The overall bill then passed.

    On Tuesday afternoon, state safety officials gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to criticize that initiative and to halt its momentum.

    "The best tool that we have to improve public safety in Minnesota is in jeopardy as a result of a bill that passed in the House last night repealing the primary seat-belt law,'' Public Safety Commissioner Ramona Dohman said.

    Since the law was enacted in 2009, there have been 179 fewer serious injuries and 69 fewer fatalities involving unbelted motorists in the state, according to Cheri Marti, head of the Public Safety Department's Office of Traffic Safety. During that period, she said, seat-belt compliance has increased from 87 percent to 92 percent.

    The 2009 law authorized police to stop motorists who are not wearing seat belts, even if they have not committed other violations. Until then, state law required drivers to wear belts, but cops couldn't pull them over unless they were speeding, running a stop sign or breaking some other traffic law.

    Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, made a pitch late Monday to go back to the secondary seat-belt law approach. When he offered the amendment, he referred to police stops aimed at increasing compliance.

    "I think it's totally unnecessary and



    is more of a revenue raiser than a safety issue,'' Rukavina said.
    Twenty minutes later, the House approved the amendment, 75-55, with DFLers such as Rep. Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park and Republicans such as Tony Cornish of Good Thunder joining forces to oppose it.

    "This law is saving lives,'' Hortman implored.

    Repealing the law would cost the state $600,000 a year in lost federal money, but that didn't worry some legislators

    "How long are we going to sit here and let the federal government, over and over and over again, hold us hostage ...?'' said Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan.

    Cornish said he was aggravated that the proposal was not discussed first in his public safety and crime prevention committee.

    "I knew trouble was brewing, but I never knew they were going after the whole law,'' Cornish said.

    No similar effort has been made so far in the Senate.

    This week's legislative developments disappointed Katherine Cooper, whose 15-year-old daughter, Meghan, was killed in 1999 when she was ejected from a car during an accident. Meghan was not wearing a seat belt.

    "For 10 years, I came to the Capitol to testify on this legislation and save lives, and it's working,'' she said.

    Dennis Lien can be reached at 651-228-5588
    Last edited by sigcopper; 05-19-2011, 07:00 PM.

  • #2
    There's a lawsuit right now contesting the legality of the primary law. I'm not up on the specifics, but it sounds like a pretty strong case with a good chance of winning. Apparently, there's contention about language and dates in MN statute, and there's a possibility that the current primary law language may not be valid.
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
    -John Adams

    Disclaimer: My statements are personal opinions, and in no way reflect those of my agency.


    • #3
      Oh Mark Buesgens.


      • #4
        I think a seatbelt should be required for a provisional license. After that, if you're too stupid to wear one, it's on the driver to make an adult decision on whether or not to wear it.
        The views expressed in the above post are the sole opinion of the author and do not reflect any official position by the author's employer and/or municipality.


        • #5


          Not wearing a seatbelt is great PC to stop people.

          I've only given seatbelt tags to people who didn't have their children strapped in, but I use the seatbelt statute for PC all the time, although bad guys are getting smarter and wearing their seatbelts now.......who would have thought the law would have worked with bad guys.



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