Seat Belt Legislation

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"Kentucky is ranked third lowest in the U.S. in seat belt usage. With this new law if we see you going down the road without a seat belt, we can stop you for this," says Sgt. Kevin Pickett of the Kentucky State Police.

Months of debate in Kentucky has taken place on whether to take seat belt belt law from a secondary offense to a primary reason.

Now police can stop motorists just for not buckling up.

Originally police were only able to cite a person for not wearing their seat belt if they were stopped for another offense such as speeding or expired plates.

"Most of the time what we hear is they just don't want to wear them, they don't like to wear them or they've heard from someone who's had a bad experience in a vehicle that was wearing a seat belt."

In order to let residents of the Commonwealth get used to the new legislation, the state will begin using these stops as lessons.

"From July 12 until December 31 of this year, the legislation wanted to educate the people of the Commonwealth by giving them a courtesy warning."

Then when January hits, officers will start handing out citations complete with $25 fines.

Sergeant Kevin Pickett says that in Kentucky 10 percent of motorists still don't wear seat belts.

Pickett also says the hope is that this new law can help save the lives of drivers across the state.

"What we're hoping to do is increase seat belt usage next year by 11 percent and with the statistics laid out with this new law could save up up to 62 lives.

The transportation cabinet says the new bill could also save the state a minimum of $40 million dollars over ten years in long-term medical care.

Another $324 million dollars could also be saved in comprehensive costs for lost life years and productivity.