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"NANNY STATE" LABEL STILL LOOMS OVER SEAT BELT BILL, CHAIR SAYS

By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 10, 2017....Police officers and transportation safety experts called on lawmakers to finally throw their support behind a long-stalled bill that would allow police officers to stop drivers for not wearing a seat belt, but the Legislature appears to be proceeding with caution amid concerns about profiling.

"As we all know, wearing a seat belt is the single best defense against injuries and deaths in a car crash," Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr, a public health expert on the National Transportation Safety Board, said. "We know seat belts are a lifesaving technology, we know a primary seat belt law will increase seat belt use, and increased seat belt use will save lives and prevent injuries."

For years, plans to stiffen penalties under the state's seat belt law have buckled in the face of racial profiling and privacy considerations. Under the current law, police officers in Massachusetts can only issue a ticket for a violation of the seat belt law if they pull the driver over for another offense.


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