Vermont House approves primary seat belt enforcement measure

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) The Vermont House is once again looking to make not wearing a seat belt a primary offense.

The House approved a transportation bill Friday that would allow police to stop motorists for not wearing a seat belt. Current law requires police to have another reason to stop someone for a seat belt offense. The House has repeatedly sought a primary enforcement bill, but the Senate has always rejected it.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Curt McCormack, D-Chittenden, says primary enforcement could save lives. "State's that have had secondary enforcement and then went to primary, I think they all see an increase. And I think we expect an increase of at least six percent," he said.

But opponents, including Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle County, says it's unlikely his committee will agree. "I think we had this conversation with our committee last week and I sense the committee is endorsing a 'no' vote," he said.

Rep. McCormack says 63 percent of highway deaths in Vermont last year involved no seat belt.