Lawmakers Wrangle Over Mandating Seat Belt Use

Lawmakers Wrangle Over Mandating Seat Belt Use

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

News Specialist Stacey Butler reportingIt's being called politics at its worst. A Utah seat belt law was supposed to face a single word change, and came out a totally different bill.

A Holladay Democrat intended to clarify Utah's existing seat belt law. But A Murray Republican drafted an amendment that wiped out any seat belt law for people 18 years or older.

It now heads to a full House.

What began as an intended clarification to Utah's seat belt law that Representative Carol Moss authored has turned into a bill to overturn seat belt violations for all adults.

"I thought it was just a little cleanup, if you will. A little clarifying. They do it all the time," Moss says.

The measure had no opposition.

It was supported by the Utah Highway Patrol and many other agencies. But hours before the House Judiciary meeting yesterday, Republican Representative Chad Bennion drafted an amendment that completely altered the bill's meaning.

"That happens all the time with legislation, that change aspects of it, because it opens it up for policy debate," Bennion says.

"The irony is it has my name on it now. It would negate the seat belt bill for anyone over 18. No one would have to wear a seat belt," Moss says.

Bennion calls the law unnecessary.

"Are you doing things just because it's state law? And I think this is a clear example of if you're going to wear a seat belt, you're going to wear a seat belt," Bennion says.

"I wish everybody did wear a seat belt on their own, but that isn't the case," Moss says.

The American Automobile Association reports that almost 300 Utahns died last year in traffic-related incidents.

And 85 percent of medical costs related to crashes are paid by the public, not the victims.

"They're making it so that we can't enforce the seat belt laws, that we have more crashes, more deaths, and a lot more expense to our public funds," says Rolayne Fairclough with AAA.

Utah has received federal highway funding for primary and secondary seat belt laws. If this amended bill passes, Utah will likely lose that money. And Representative Moss will remove her name from the bill.

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast