Comment: MoDOT chief pushes for tougher seat belt law -

Comment: MoDOT chief pushes for tougher seat belt law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- It's failed repeatedly in the past. But state Transportation Director Pete Rahn is optimistic that a bill stepping up Missouri's seat belt enforcement may pass this year.

Rahn wants lawmakers to allow police to pull over motorists for not wearing seat belts.

Under current Missouri law, police can issue tickets for seat belt violations only if motorists are first stopped for some other violation.

Rahn says 2,183 people who were not wearing seat belts died in Missouri traffic accidents during the past four years. He estimates a primary seat belt law may have saved 360 of those lives.

Although similar bills have passed the Senate in previous years, they have not cleared the House. Some lawmakers believe the bill would be an unnecessary government intrusion on personal freedom.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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