Tougher Seat Belt Law Now In Effect

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UPDATE: 4/10/2013 2:56 PM

West Virginia police will soon be able to pull drivers over for not wearing a seat belt.

But the new law makes it a primary offense, meaning a driver would not have to be stopped for another violation first.

The bill passed the Senate on a 24-10 vote Wednesday after contentious debate in the house and narrow passage two weeks ago.

The fine for failing to wear a seat belt would be $25 with no court costs or points on a driver's license.

A bill making the failure to buckle-up a primary offense in West Virginia is moving toward passage.

Seat belt use is already mandatory in the state, but it's a secondary offense. Meaning an officer has to pull a driver over for another violation first.

The bill narrowly passed the House earlier this week. Supporters say it will increase seat belt use and save lives. Opponents say it's an infringement on personal freedom.

For officers, this is something they preach every day.

"I mean we've preached it. Every law enforcement agency preaches it. Seat belts help save lives. It may not save a life in every accident, but what we do know is that seat belts will keep you from making contact with the steering wheel or the windshield during impact," says Parkersburg Police Sergeant Greg Collins.

If it passes drivers would get fined $25 for not wearing a seat belt. The state would also get more than $1 million in additional federal highway safety funds.

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