Transportation Safety Board To Va.: Improve Seat Belt Laws | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Transportation Safety Board To Va.: Improve Seat Belt Laws

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The National Transportation Safety Board says Virginia has some of the weakest seat belt enforcement laws in the country because of political principle.

Seat belt use rates are up to 15 percent higher in states with primary seat belt enforcement laws, where police officers can pull you over for just a seat belt violation.

Unlike D.C., Maryland and 29 other states, Virginia doesn't have a primary enforcement law -- although not for lack of trying. The NTSB's Steve Blackistone says it's not that Virginia lawmakers think seat belts don't work.

"The argument has never really been over whether or not seat belts are effective or that sort of thing," he says. "It's much more of [an] almost philosophical argument over what's the appropriate role of government in regulating personal lives."

Maryland's seat belt law requires usage only in the front two seats, while D.C.'s law requires seat belts for everyone in the car.

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