Seatbelt bill could increase fines in Tennessee

10:43 PM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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East Tennesseans who choose not to wear their seat belts could soon face bigger fines for violating the state's seat belt law.

State senators in the Transportation and Safety Committee approved a bill five to four that would increase fines from $10 to $50 for drivers who operate a vehicle with passengers who are not wearing seat belts.

Drivers who commit their second offense would see their fines increase from $20 to $75.

Some of the money made from fines would then go to programs that prevent child abuse in Tennessee.

Seymour Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kevin Nunn said he supports the idea. He and his crew are used to responding to car accidents.

"I think a $10 hit to the pocketbook is not all that impressive, but you start talking $50 [and] that's upward of what people can make in a day," he said.

THP Trooper Robert Woody said he supports the legislation too. However, he said there are some people who won't wear a seat belt no matter how many times they are fined.

"They're dead set for driving without a seat belt for whatever reason," Woody said.

And, that was one of the reasons State Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, decided to vote against the bill in committee.

The bill was supposed to be voted on in a House committee Wednesday as well. However, according to the office of co-sponsor and State Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, it was pulled from the committee calendar so further adjustments could be made. His office expects a vote to take place next week.

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