Mandatory seat belts could become new Maryland traffic law

Sure, drivers, front seat passengers and children are currently required to wear seat belts, but the law could be about to change in Maryland. A father and Police Captain was inspired by the loss of his son to support an effort to make the traffic law stricter: everyone should have to wear a seat belt, regardless of age or location in the vehicle.

House Bill 564 went before a committee in Annapolis and has the support of certain lawmakers who seek to better protect Maryland residents. Some criticize the mounting amount of laws drivers are being faced with these days, such as seat belt, cell phone and texting laws. They think that the government is trying to regulate common sense, create a nanny state and make money while doing so.

If HB 564 is passed, not only would everyone be required to wear a seat belt, but the failure for all car passengers to buckle up would be a primary offense. That means that a police officer could pull a car over merely because he or she sees that someone isn’t wearing a seat belt. No other traffic violation would have to be committed in order to pull over and cite someone for the seat belt violation.

Sources report that the current proposal states that it would be up to an officer to decide whom to fine in such a situation, either the driver, passenger or both. And the suggested fine amount is $25. That doesn’t sound too expensive, but it’s still just another reason to be pulled over and for the government to get money from its hard-working residents.

What do you think? Would this bill make you feel safer, or does it sound like an unnecessary, overprotective measure?

Source “Montgomery County Police Traffic Safety Director Pushing Maryland Seat Belt Bill,” Beth Parker, 22 Feb. 2011

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