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New Seat Belt Legislation Could Bring Florida Millions

February 4th, 2009 by flanews

Floridas chances to grab a 35 million dollar federal grant are running out. The state has until June 30th to adopt a stricter seat belt law in order to receive the money. As Whitney Ray tell us, some lawmakers hope the extra cash will persuade enough of their colleagues to pass the legislation.

Hear it Here: Stricter Seat Belt Law Could Bring Florida Millions

Sixty percent of people who die in car wrecks arent buckled up.

Taking just a moment to put on that seat belt can make all the difference in the world when your vehicle gets in a crash, said Florida Highway Patrol Captain Mark Welch.

Its against the law in Florida to ride in a car without your safety belt, but sometimes its hard to enforce. Right now the only way you can get ticketed for not wearing a seat belt is if you get caught violating another traffic law first.

Representative Rich Glorioso filed legislation to change the law so police officers can pull people over if theyre not buckled up.

The primary seat belt law is going to save lives. Its going to save 200 lives a year. About 2,700 serious injuries, disabling injuries every year, said Glorioso.

The legislation has failed before over concerns it would lead to racial profiling. What may calm those fears this time is the state could be awarded 35 million dollars if it acts before July.

Some drivers say the state should grab the money before its too late.

I think its important that people wear their seat belts because it really saves lives, said Judy Brooks.

But others think the legislation should be put off until the economy improves.

Im not sure that timing is real good for that, said Gayle Nelson.

In March, legislators will have to make up their own minds about the timing of the bill but turning down 35 million dollars could be a tough sell back home. The grant money would go to the Department of Transportation and would be earmarked for highway projects.

Posted in Legislature, State News, Transportation | 5 Comments »

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