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Tougher Seat Belt Laws Proposed in New Jersey

January 31, 2008

TRENTON, N.J. --- The New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, Jan. 28, unanimously advanced two proposals seeking to toughen the state's seat belt law.

One proposal would require all passengers in the back seat, regardless of their age, to wear a seat belt. Front-seat passengers are already required to wear seat belts. Fines associated with both violations are $20.

The second proposal would increase fines for drivers who fail to buckle up passengers under the age of 18. A fine of $100 would be imposed for first-time offenders. Subsequent offenses would carry a fine of $250 to $500, according to a Gannett report about the legislation.

The bill is opposed by the New Jersey chapter of the National Motorists Association, which argues that such regulations infringe on a motorist's rights.

The back-seat passenger bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Nelson Albano (D-Cumberland), whose son was killed when a drunk driver broadsided his son's car.

In 2006, 113 drivers and 70 passengers involved in fatal accidents were not wearing seat belts, according to statistics from the New Jersey State Police. That's nearly twice as many as those killed who were wearing seat belts.

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