A House subcommittee has killed a bill in Virginia, that would have made the failure to wear a seatbelt a primary offense. Although there is another version of the bill that has cleared the Virginia Senate, it has been referred back to the same subcommittee that killed the first bill. Some believe this bill will suffer the same fate:
Last week, the subcommittee voted to table House Bill 901, sponsored by Delegate William K. Barlow, D-Smithfield.
“This is the second year I’ve tried it. It never passes in the subcommittee,” Barlow said. “The bill gets killed at the lowest level.”
Now the subcommittee has been assigned Senate Bill 9, proposed by Sen. Harry B. Blevins, R-Chesapeake. It passed 24-16 in the Senate last month.
Blevins said he is not optimistic about the reception SB 9 will receive in the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee.
“The bill doesn’t have much of a chance,” Blevins said. “I’m a realist.”
Opponents of the bill cite government intrusion as a justification for rejecting such a law.
Currently, Virginia law states that “occupants of front seats who are 16 years or older are required to use safety lap belts and shoulder harnesses.” However, breaking that law is a secondary offense: Police may cite you for a seat-belt violation only if they see you committing another offense, such as speeding or running a red light.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, ask yourself: ”What is the risk of having my seatbelt on, vs. not wearing one at all?” Are there children in the car with you? What kind of a message does it send to them if we do not buckle up? Would you tell your child that they do not have to wear their seatbelt, or be ‘ok with it’ if they didn’t? Remember, as much as we can control our vehicle, we can never control anyone else’s. Be safe out there, please!