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Rhode Island Police to Enforce Nighttime Seat Belt Use [VIDEO]

The primary seat belt law allows officers to fine motorists $85 for not buckling up at any time of the day.

Rhode Island police have a message for motorists: click your seat belt or face a $85 fine.

Local law enforcement including and will start heavily enforcing nighttime seat belt use. Violators will be fined $85 for each person in the vehicle who is not wearing a belt.

According to DOT, 79 percent of vehicle fatalities in Rhode Island occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. In those crashes, nearly three-fourths of motorists were killed for not wearing their seatbelts. 

The campaign will be the second law enforcement effort conducted under the state's new primary seat belt law. Enacted last June, the statue allows police to fine drivers at any time for not buckling up. Under the prior law, drivers had to be pulled over for another offense before they could be ticketed for not wearing a restraint.

Dan Converse supports the law and spoke from personal experience. The Barrington resident lost his son Jonathan Converse on Nov. 5, 2007 after he was thrown out of a car. The 16-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt. Alcohol use was involved by those in the vehicle.

"I support this law," he said at press conference last Wednesday at the Taunton Avenue Park and Ride surrounded by police officers from communities across Rhode Island. "I would not be standing here if he took one, two seconds to click his seatbelt."

Karen March 21, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Yet, no helmet law for motorcycles, could this just be another way to increase revenues??
Dean esserman March 21, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Next fine will be $5 for farting in church.
Giordano Bruno March 21, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Everyone who opposes this laws should contact their state Senator and Representative and tell them to introduce legislation to repeal this unnecessary and intrusional, money making law. And yes, I agree seat belts save lives and we should wear them. Same with motorcycle helmets, but the government needs to leave people alone to make their own choices in these types of matters.
Bill Goneau March 21, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Such an invasion of freedom and privacy. So now it is reasonable cause to pull someone over whenever they feel like it. "It appeared that one of the passengers did not have a seatbelt on". This is crap and should be repealed. If someone is dumb enough to ride without a seatbelt it should limit how much they get in an injury claim by making the responsible for some percentage of the injury that they suffer in an accident but don't start dictating how someone chooses to live. Next they'll have laws and probable cause to enter your house if they think that you are eating unhealthy food or not brushing your teeth.
Mark Wyman March 21, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Not brushing your teeth is a $159 fine in RI but it is secondary enforcement they have to already be charging you another hygene voilation first.
dan March 21, 2012 at 10:03 PM
yes it is a way to increase revenues. by the way i actually heard that it is illegal to pass a law where the penalty is a fine for the sole purpose of revenue increase. pass that along
Jack Baillargeron March 21, 2012 at 10:52 PM
This has nothing to do with safety, if you have not got the brains to wear one, you deserve what you get. This however is an excuse to pull people over and gather a lot more money for Chafee and the legislature to spend, as maybe they are finally realizing the people are now rocks, and you cannot get blood out od a stone as they say. All under the guise of safety lol. Laws are made to keep homest people honest, the criminal or the idiot will still not obey it, and what if they cannot pay the fine, or refuse to and want to go to court? As usual another (but it is for the public), that in the end will be more trouble then it is worth to have our law enforcement spending hours on this crappola especially at night.
David Silvia March 28, 2012 at 02:35 AM
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND TOTAL DARKNESS, HOW DO THE POLICE KNOW IF YOUR WEARING YOUR BELT OR NOT, MORE OF INVASION OF PRIVACEY THE HOLDING UP A LAW OF SAFTEY! WANT TO MAKE THE ROADS SAVER! MAKE PEOPLE GO THROUGH DRIVER RETRAINING AND MAKE THE ROADS SAVER.
Ray Andrews March 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I'm trying to understand why people here are angry that police now have the ability to enforce a law that's been on the books since 1998. It sounds as though you're saying "we don't mind laws, unless we actually have to obey them"
Jack Baillargeron March 28, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Because Ray it has not been on the books, that s a different law as the article points out. Current law is fine. "Under the prior law, drivers had to be pulled over for another offense before they could be ticketed for not wearing a restraint." I suspect you may see a challenge to this as well, since there was originally if I remember right there was, which is why "another Offence" was put in it. It is also obvious just another way to get money that will not go where they say as usual. Well I agree people should buckle up, I also see this as police being given quota's for tickets for it, and it will be abused and tie up the court system. This will negate any funds n the long run. It also creates yet another burden on law enforcement officers to be in court, rather than on the job. Not to mention being tied up on a seatbelt pullover, creating extended time to show up at other more serious calls. These officers are not machines, and with budget cuts and less personnel it increases risk to the public in my opinion. This Governor and legislature is doing nothing but raping taxpayers with more and more squeezing of money they do not need. They need to cut government not spend more, revenue is getting harder to get as jobs and families leave this State in droves. Less taxes not more. This madness has to stop, State and Local.
Ray Andrews March 28, 2012 at 08:09 PM
It isn't a different law, it is an amendment to the existing one RIGL 31-22-22 http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText11/HouseText11/H5449Aaa.pdf which changes it from being a secondary offense to a primary offense. It has been the law for quite some time, but now the police can enforce it without people having to be in violation of some other law or ordinance as well. I don't see how Chafee could be held responsible for the change in this law from being a secondary offense to a primary one, when the amendment was introduced by 5 representatives just a couple weeks after the governor took office Over 30 states have similar primary seatbelt laws, none have been overturned.
Jack Baillargeron March 28, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Not to nitpick, Ray, but obviously it is different if the current law is being changed from, "secondary offense to a primary offense". On the 2nd one, of course he can be blamed, he supports it and will be the final say on pass or veto, then you can blame the legislature again if they over ride. To the 30 other states, lol. This is Rhode Island, which is in the top 10 for corruption of politicians and legal system. Many times we follow no other State, least of all with common sense. In the end I still believe it is a waste of tax money and you will never see it go to education, which needs no more funding anyway. The problem is not funding, it is a broken system period. If it were funding, we would not have the 5th highest paid teachers in the US, and be 41st in education, according the the National Teachers Association, Largest teachers Union in the country. Since Chaffe who I am very biased against, ( I have no respect for him and think he is an idiot) 36% vote hardly gave him a mandate, and all he is doing is raising taxes on everyone period. That is not a solution, that means you have no clue what you are doing if you depend on throwing money into a pit. He would not know how an average taxpayer manages a budget if it was tranfered directly to his brain, if you could find it.
Ray Andrews March 28, 2012 at 10:02 PM
My point is that it is the same law, it is regulating the same issue, it is based on the same legal precedent, and supported by the legal history of existing code. Yes the law is slightly modified, but it is the same law. It's a simple matter of fact. I wasn't attempting to be pro or con to any administration or party, and not saying anything about what funds would be raised, or what would happen with them. But blaming someone (anyone) for changes to a law when they clearly didn't have anything to do with those changes, just doesn't make sense. You can dislike anyone you like, as much as you like, but when you do it should be based on verifiable and document able facts
Cynthia Lachapelle Shannon March 29, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I suppose, Ray, that the unmodified law implied it was okay to drive without a seatbelt on, so long as you're not committing any other offense that may result in you being pulled over...??
Jack Baillargeron March 29, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Guess I will agree to disagree onyour assessment Ray ;-}. Chafee is the Governor and therefore the buck stops with him, he will decide if it becomes law. If he had not come out in supprt of it, maybe I would feel different and wait and see if he veto's it. But that is not the case.
Jack Baillargeron March 29, 2012 at 01:55 AM
No one of the other reasons it was passed that way, was that many people are irritated by the cross shoulder and older cars did not have then, only lap belts. Some cars today still have only lap belts in the back. You cannot determine whether they would have it on or not, therefore giving police and opertunity to abuse the law, especially on minorities or just the way a person looks. These and many other arguments were presented about it, to include the ones on the helmet law for motorcyclist, which still only requires the passenger and bicycle are not required protection of any kind. There are many arguments for and against this, Mine is still why now? For me obviously to have police spend their time doing mass pull overs and clogging the legal system to get money under the guise of education, which it will never go too. There is no doubt in my mind this will end up with many in court, in this State it is the norm. We should be cutting and looking at ways to solve the budget issues, not just go the same rout of,(we need to find a way to get more money). In tough times, home owners do with out things. Where does the nanny State end? In Rhode Island it seems no-where, until we are bankrupt. This is all politics as usual in R.I.
Jack Baillargeron March 29, 2012 at 01:56 AM
forgot to put on the lap belt that many people push it to the side, leaving the lap belt in place, especially women and large people, so you cannot tell if they have one on even though th lap belt is one. There will be cases on that I am sure also.
Ray Andrews March 29, 2012 at 02:15 AM
It's not my assessment. It's the plain and simple formal record of the law that shows that it is the same ordinance. Simply reading the amendment shows that. There is no waiting to see if it becomes law. The amendment to 31-22-22 went into effect last year. It's not a new law, and not subject to veto. Have you read the law ?
Jack Baillargeron March 29, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I have read the law; I am also going by what the article says. It says the 2nd law that to me mean means a different law. Also a law amended by adding a new charge is new, I think you are splitting hairs to say this is not new. Prohibition was law, then amended to repeal it. So was that the same law? Not trying to belittle what you are saying, I just think it is all semantics, It for the obvious scam, which again will cost more than it is worth to have it primary as I stated in my other post. It also expires; "SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage and it shall expire on June 30, 2013". Why is that? If it is so important and not merely a scam to collect money? Why does not state, the fines will go to education? it states 50% to municipalities, 50% to the State. Education will never see this, just like Roads never saw it, it will be in general funds and excuses made that they had to rob it as usual. "The campaign will be the second law enforcement effort conducted under the state's new primary seat belt law. Enacted last June". Do you not find it strange that all of a sudden it is getting enforced and supported by Chaffee to do it. No matter how you look at it, it is being used to further politics as usual. Always make the people suffer, You know as well as I do that many just forget to put a seatbelt on when going just down the street. I admit that is no excuse. But to have it primary is a scam, in these economic times.,called revenue enhancement.
Ray Andrews March 29, 2012 at 04:58 PM
The importance of it being the same law is not a trivial one, there may be legal precedents, case law, previous legal challenges, or other decisions based on the existing law. That is why when a law changes it is usually done as amendments (yes prohibition as well). It makes more sense than having a nightmare of multiple laws on the books where law-b modifies law-a, and law-c modifies law-a, and law-d modifies part of law-b and law-a, and so on. Also the precedents and decisions tied to the existing law are carried on as well. The article refers to the states new primary seat-belt law, that could be just a matter of grammar. The state did not have a 'primary seat-belt law', but with the change to the existing law, it became a primary. Imagine you had an existing gas station that added hydrogen fueling for the states new jet-scooters, you could refer to that existing station as the states 'new hydrogen fueling station'. Why expiration in June 30 2013, well June 30 is the end of a fiscal year, why 2013, I don't know but that expiration has been in the law for a while. It may be something that was put in a while back because there was an intention to revisit the effect of the law at a later date. A lot of laws have similar expiration for that reason, and it typically gets extended later, with another amendment. As for what will happen to the money, who knows when you have politicians making decisions.

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