State's Transportation Director Wants Tougher Seat Belt Laws

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 - Posted at 4:17 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri's top transportation official wants legislators to act next year on tightening the law on seat belt use.

Lawmakers have repeatedly rejected proposals to let officers pull drivers over solely for failing to buckle up.  Under existing law, officers can issue tickets for seat belt violations only after pulling someone over for some other violation.

But State Transportation Director Pete Rahn says it's time for the state to adopt the so-called primary seat belt law.  He's making it a top priority in the upcoming legislative session.

Rahn says Missouri has done all it can to promote seat belt use through public education campaigns.  He estimates a primary seat belt law would prevent 90 highway deaths and 1,000 serious injuries each year.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)