ROELAND PARK, Kan. – The smallest fine in the country for not wearing a seat belt is right here at home in Kansas. Lawmakers are working to change that.
Law enforcement says this buckling your seatbelt should be second nature when you get behind the wheel. If you’re driving in Kansas and get pulled over without wearing a seatbelt, $10 is all you’ll pay. Kansas politicians are working to turn that $10 into much more.
Roeland Park police Officer John DeMoss says he writes about 15 to 20 tickets a month for seatbelt violations.
“You do see it quite often. A lot of people it’s either a comfort issue or they don’t want to wear it because it’s an inconvenience getting in and out of the car,” said DeMoss.
The $10 fine is the lowest fine for a seatbelt violation in the United States. Lawmakers are pushing a senate bill that would raise that fine to $60, a 500 percent increase. Police say it isn’t all about the money.
“We don’t look at it as a revenue issue, we look at it as an education issue,” said DeMoss.
DeMoss says his department partners with many others to spread this knowledge year-round.
“We are active every year in the Click It or Ticket campaign that happens in May,” he said.
Officers feel if they can keep it top of mind for drivers, then drivers will remember to buckle up.
DeMoss continued, “I’ve talked to troopers and I myself have worked many accidents where people were not wearing their seatbelts and they were fatally killed.”
Whether 10 dollars or 60, DeMoss says there is no price tag you can put on saving someone’s life.
“Your life is worth much more than $60. It’s worth wearing,” he said.
Kansas lawmakers expect the bill will raise more than $1 million, five percent of which would fund the education of seat belt use for children. The senate bill is backed by Governor Sam Brownback and his administration.