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Senators shoot down seat-belt bill

Published March 4, 2013 4:28 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Senators on Monday rejected a proposal by a Democratic lawmaker that would have made it a primary offense to not wear a seat belt.

Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, saw SB114 — even after several concessions that included a two-year expiration date — unable to sway Republicans and Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, openly questioned on the Senate floor if this was similar to a House measure that failed last year.

Robles said the measure was a way "to save lives" but agreed to change the bill to only make it a warning for the first year it would be in effect and could only be issued in zones where the speed limit was higher than 55 mph.

There was virtually no debate on the floor when Robles brought the measure to the floor. It failed 6-23 — with only Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, voting with the five Democrats on the proposal. Shiozawa is a physician.

Current law only allows police to ticket motorists for not wearing a seat belt if they were pulled over for another offense.

Robles managed to get her measure out of a committee by a single vote — with some conservative lawmakers worrying it infringed on personal freedoms.

dmontero@sltrib.com

Twitter: @davemontero