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Montana lawmaker aims for higher penalty for not wearing seat be - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Montana lawmaker aims for higher penalty for not wearing seat belt

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Montana Legislature Montana Legislature
HELENA -- Statistics show that Montanans are using their seat belts less and less, but a bill being debated in the Montana Legislature aims to change that by increasing the fine for not wearing one.

Senate Bill 165, sponsored by Dick Barrett (D-Missoula) would raise the fine for not wearing a seat belt from $20 to $100.

Mike Tooley, the director of the Montana Department of Transportation, said during a hearing in the Montana Legislature on Tuesday, "The very last crash I investigated involved a 12-year-old child who was ejected from the vehicle and killed just a few miles from here. I want to make it very clear that that is the real cost."

The proposed measure would not make a seat belt violation a so-called primary offense, meaning police would be able to cite violators only if they broke another traffic law.

Here is the full text of the bill:

A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT INCREASING THE PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH MONTANA'S SEATBELT AND CHILD SAFETY RESTRAINT LAWS; AND AMENDING SECTION 61-13-104, MCA."

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

Section 1. Section 61-13-104, MCA, is amended to read:

"61-13-104. Penalty -- no record permitted. (1) A driver who violates 61-13-103 shall be fined $100, but the violation is not a misdemeanor pursuant to 45-2-101, 46-18-236, 61-8-104, or 61-8-711. A violation of 61-13-103 may not be counted as a moving violation for purposes of suspending a driver's license under 61-11-203(2)(m). Bond for this offense is $100, and a jail sentence may not be imposed.

(2) A violation of 61-13-103 may not be recorded or charged against the driver's record of a person violating 61-13-103.

(3) An insurance company may not hold a violation of 61-13-103 against the insured or increase the insured's premiums due to a violation of 61-13-103."

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