JEFFERSON CITY — A key senator predicted Tuesday that legislators will pass a law next session giving law enforcement officers increased authority to ticket people for not wearing vehicle seat belts.
Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jon Dolan said a primary seat belt law is important for safety and could bring the state millions of dollars in federal incentive money.
Current law allows officers to ticket Missouri motorists for failing to wear a seat belt only if they are stopped for another reason. A primary law would allow officers to stop people just for not using seat belts.
Dolan, R-Lake St. Louis, spoke as the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight heard an annual update from Missouri transportation officials. Peter Rahn, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, told legislators that his agency plans to use extra money from Amendment 3 to improve the safety and smoothness of state highways.
Acting on what he called a mandate from citizens, Rahn outlined a three-year Smoother Roads Initiative that seeks to improve 2,200 miles of state highways.
Amendment 3, which changed the Missouri Constitution to require taxes on fuel and automotive sales be earmarked for road improvements, passed with more than 78 percent support.
— David Ferrucci of the Missourian’s State Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.