Failure To Pass Seat Belt Law Could Cost State Millions

By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email
By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email

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Kansas lawmakers are being urged to take quick action to prevent the state from losing millions in funding. If a new seat belt law isn't passed, Kansas could lose important federal highway funds.

If you don't click it, police could simply pull you over and give you a ticket. It's a new seat belt law working it's way through the state legislature right now.

The bill is now stalled in the House. If it doesn't pass by the end of June, Kansas could lose out on a federal grant of more than $11 million plus an extra $500,000 per year.

Most of that windfall could be used on highway projects, which is why KDOT called an afternoon news conference urging legislators to act and saying that's a lot of needed money that can't be passed up.

"Seat belt use is already the law. This will gently nudge more people to conform."

Those who are against the law say it's their right to chose whether to wear a seat belt or not and the state shouldn't penalize them. Those in favor point to statistics that show 2/3 of those who die in crashes aren't buckled up.

Right now an average of 77% of Kansans wear seat belts, according to state officials. The state says that number could jump to 87% if the new law passed.

The extra money from the feds could make a huge difference in the driving experience of all Kansans. The question is, will the money matter change people's minds?

"I definitely think it will affect people's decision," said one Wichitan.

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