Bill to increase fines for not wearing seat belts appears dead for session

A Haslam administration bill to increase the fine for not wearing a seat belt appears to be dead for the year.

“Frankly, we don’t have the votes in the Senate Transportation Committee at this point,” said Gibbons in an interview Tuesday.

At this point is fairly crucial since the Senate Transportation Committee holds what is scheduled to be its final meeting of the year today and the administration bill (HB1497) is not on the list of bills to be considered in the last meeting.

The measure would increase the fine for failure to buckle up from $10 to $25 on first offense and from $20 to $50 on second and subsequent offenses. Proponents say that’s still lower than the Southeastern average – $59.60 on first offense and $64.10 on second offense – and contend that higher fines would reduce deaths and injuries in traffic accidents by encouraging more people to use the belts.