Missouri lawmakers proposing bigger fine for seat belts - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Missouri lawmakers proposing bigger fine for seat belts

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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

 

Seat belt fines in Missouri may not be enough to encourage more people to buckle up.  In fact, Missouri has one of the lowest fines in the country, and some lawmakers say that's putting drivers at risk.

If you're caught not wearing your seat belt in Missouri, you probably have enough money in your wallet to pay the fine, it's just $10, but a new proposal could increase it to $50.  According to MoDOT, the national average for seat belt usage is 84 percent, but it's 79 percent in Missouri.  The question is will a bigger fine improve that number?

"It might save lives if people buckle up," said Missouri Driver Debbie Love. 

Love supports a $50 seat belt fine. She said the bigger fine will get people's attention. 

"The bottom line is the almighty dollar right? So if they save money by buckling up they probably will," she said.  

And Angela Boudreaux agrees.

"A 10 dollar fine isn't that much to pay. If you have to pay a 50 dollar fine your more apt to put that seatbelt on because I don't want to pay a $50 fine... I would rather pay a $10 fine so I think that's a good idea," Boudreaux said. 

According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, Missouri and four other states have the lowest seat belt fine in the country.  Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn believes more can be done to make people buckle up than just increasing the fine.

"Move from a non moving violation to a moving violation. Meaning if they have moving violations on their record, eventually after so many points are deducted from their Driver's License, it will be suspended or revoked," he said.  

Boudreaux said people don't have the same urgency to put their seatbelt on in Missouri, like they do in Illinois. 

"Well you know when you go to Quincy to put your seatbelt on because their fine is like $50.  So people know to go ahead and put your seatbelt on because they're going to find you," she said.

While there may be support among drivers, state lawmakers haven't always been in agreement.  Proposals to raise seat belt fines have failed in each of the last three years.  

 

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