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Rhode Island Gets Tougher Seat Belt Law

July 06, 2011

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee on June 30 signed a primary seat belt bill into law. As a result, law enforcement officers in the state can now pull over adult drivers and fine them $75 solely for failing to wear a seat belt, the Providence Journal reported.

Previously, adult drivers couldn’t be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. They could be ticketed for that offense only if police pulled them over for a different violation, such as speeding. Police could, however, stop and ticket drivers who were transporting unbelted children -- or pull over and ticket unbelted drivers under the age of 18 -- without another offense cited.

Rhode Island becomes the 31st state to have a primary seat belt law. 

Chafee signed the legislation at about 6 p.m. on June 30, beating a federal July 1 deadline for enacting such a law. Meeting the deadline ensured that the state is eligible for $3.57 million in federal highway funds for outreach, education and road improvements.

The law includes a sunset provision -- it expires June 30, 2013.


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