Angela Mapes, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, has an article entitled “Seat Belt Measure Passes”. Assuming it’s signed by the Governor, the law will require occupants of pickup trucks and those in back seats of vehicles to use their seat belt. By complying with federal guidelines, Indiana will be entitled to $15 million from the feds. The Senate balked at changing the road fund formula to account for pick up trucks when determining how to distribute road fund money. So the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute offered to give $10 million worth of grants to rural counties that are generally considered â€œlosersâ€ under the current formula.
Search Results for: seat belt
Niki Kelly, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, has an article on the truck seat belt bill, HB 1237, entitled Deal requiring truck seat belts goes to House. As I understood it, the major hang up between the House and Senate was whether to alter the local road funding formula. Should the money be doled out based on a county’s ratio of cars to the state’s total cars, or should it be doled out based on a county’s ratio of cars & trucks to the state’s total cars & trucks. The Senate version left it at the former while the House version contained the latter. So, just really, really generally – Senate version favors urban areas whereas the House version favors rural areas.
However, according to Ms. Kelly’s article the four conferees (conferees usually being made up representatives of both parties from each chamber) agreed on the Senate version with a small change. The change involves the extra federal money Indiana would receive if it finally eliminates the truck seat belt loophole. The conference committee version of the bill would prohibit using that extra money on safety checkpoints set up to catch Hoosiers without seat belts. The local road fund formula would remain cars only.
Strikes me as odd that the checkpoint language would be enough to get the thing passed. The legislators representing areas with more trucks seem likely to take the most heat from this legislation. Consequently, it seems like they would really like to bring home more money to their counties in return.
[tags]HB1237-2007, seat belts[/tags]
The Associated Press has an article reviewing events at the State House today under the headline House fails to pass seat belt bill. Under review was HB 1237 which amends the seat belt laws to require all passengers, not just front seat passengers, of most vehicles — no exemption for pickup trucks and truck-plated SUVs, for example. The original house version also amended the local road funding formula. As I understand it, currently pickup trucks are not included in the road formula — a county pretty much gets a chunk of the road fund in proportion to the number of cars it has registered compared to the total number of cars in the state. The House version would have modified that to make the ratio that of pickup trucks + cars compared to the pickup trucks & cars in the state. Generally, such a change would presumably mean that rural counties would get a greater share of the road fund and urban counties a lesser share since a greater percentage of rural drivers tend to drive pickup trucks. (At least that’s the presumption — I don’t know what the breakdown really is.) The Senate passed the seat belt provisions, but took out the road funding provisions.
Today, one of the authors, Peggy Welch, offered the bill up to the House to see if it would concur with the Senate amendments. The House voted 34 to 65 against. So, it looks like differences either need to be hammered out in the conference committee or the bill will be dead. Good luck with that. Messing with the funding formula is always tough sledding.
It looks like the Senate has passed a version of House Bill 1237 and sent it back to the House with Amendments. Both chambers passed a bill that requires occupants in pick up trucks and SUVs to wear seat belts and for all occupants of the motor vehicle to wear seat belts instead of just in the front seat.
The Senate apparently removed House provisions that would’ve prohibited police from using traffic stops as a means of “educating” the public about the benefits of using a safety belt. In addition, the Senate removed the provision that would have prohibited operating a truck on a public highway while an individual is in the open bed of a truck. That’s not already a law?
But, the biggest sticking point is probably the Senate’s removal of a provision that would have altered the computation of how the funds in the local road and street funds are allocated. I can never remember who wins and who loses under which formulation. But, currently the allocation depends on the ratio of passenger cars in the county compared to the passenger cars in the state overall. The House version of the bill changed the ratio to be County (passenger cars + pickup trucks)/State (passenger cars + pickup trucks). So, that would alter the distribution. If that was a critical way to sell the pickup truck seat belt law to representatives with counties having a lot of pickup trucks, then there is a fair chance of seeing this thing die in conference committee. I’m just guessing though.
[tags]HB1237-2007, motor vehicles[/tags]
House Bill 1237 Motor vehicle restraint systems. Rep. Welch. This is the bill that requires all occupants of a motor vehicle (with certain exceptions) to wear a seat belt. In practical terms, this means that all occupants rather than just the front seat occupants are required to buckle up. Also, occupants of pickup trucks and SUVs are no longer exempt.
Whatever you might think of the seat belt requirement generally, I don’t think a good argument can be made that the distinction between SUVs and pickup trucks on the one hand and other automobiles on the other hand made much sense. I don’t know what the safety studies say, but there was probably a better argument to be made for the distinction between front seat occupants and back seat occupants.
[tags]SB1237-2007, motor vehicles[/tags]
The perennial seat belt bill is once again in motion. This year, House Bill 1237 requires occupants of motor vehicles to wear seat belts. It passed out of the House Roads and Transportation Committee by a vote of 9 to 1. (Rep. Jim Buck voted against it.)
One of the main bones of contention is the idea of making occupants of pickup trucks wear seat belts. Back since the days when I was drafting this bill, I have contended that current law, read strictly, requires occupants of most pickup trucks to wear a seat belt. Currently, the law requires each front seat occupant of a “passenger motor vehicle” to wear a seat belt. The definition of “passenger motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle designed for carrying passengers, but specifically excludes “trucks, tractors, and recreational vehicles.” However, if you go to the definition of “truck,” it means “a motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.” My argument is that the vast majority of pickup trucks are used to transport passengers and are not primarily used to transport property. So, they’re best seen as passenger vehicles and not as “trucks,” as defined by the Indiana Code and, therefore, seat belts ought to be required.
(I got into this hair-splitting argument when I was asked to determine whether SUV’s were passenger vehicles or trucks under the seat belt laws.) But, we’ve gotten to where “everybody knows” you don’t have to wear a seat belt in a pickup truck. So, it doesn’t matter a bit what the law actually says. Laws are only as good as their enforcement.
[tags]HB1237-2007, motor vehicles[/tags]
SB 88 concerning seat belts, passed the Senate 26 to 21. This requires all occupants, as opposed to just the occupants of the front seat, of a motor vehicle to wear a seat belt. Occupants of pickup trucks and SUVs plated as trucks would now be required to wear seat belts (currently they are not). The following are excluded from the requirement: farm trucks being used on a farm for agricultural pursuits, vehicles in a parade, living quarters of an RV, the treatment area of an ambulance, the sleeping area of a tractor, and vehicles not equipped with seat belts.
Niki Kelly, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, has an article entitled, Legislators Cool to Feds’ Seat-belt bait. Apparently there is a cool $15 million in it for Indiana if they close the loophole that allows drivers and passengers in pickup trucks and SUVs plated as trucks to do without seat-belts while requiring drivers of cars to buckle up. Rep. Stutzman, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, is reportedly cool to the idea. Gov. Daniels is non-committal. The ever crusading Sen. Wyss supports the idea, but isn’t interested in tackling the issue once again unless the Governor throws his weight behind it.
I’m a libertarian minded kind of guy, and I’m as cranky as the next Hoosier about issues that seem trivial to the outside viewer, such as Daylight Saving Time and a one class basketball tournament. But this business about opposing a seat belt requirement, I just do not get. The government gets into our business in a myriad of ways, almost the least of which is telling us to buckle up when we drive. There is virtually no down side to doing it, and the upside is enormous. Nobody gets worked up because the government tells them they have to use brake lights when they stop (or have brakes on their car). The seat belt is just another piece of safety equipment we’re required to use when operating a motor vehicle.
I don’t have time to get into the details just now, but I think technically, as the law is written, operators of most pickup trucks have to wear seat belts anyway. It has to do with the definitions in title 9. The definition of truck is tied to its primary use for hauling property whereas the seat belt law, I think, applies to passenger vehicles or something along those lines, tied to the purpose of transporting people. Most of the pickup trucks used in Indiana are used primarily to transport people and not property. But, after years of everybody assuming that the seat belt law doesn’t apply to pickup trucks, I don’t suppose that sort of hair splitting would be successful.
Anyway, with all of Governor Daniels’ grandstanding about fiscal austerity and finding federal money where it’s available, he should be consistent and go after the $15 million before he decides to do more nickel and diming of state employees by cutting their sticky-note allowance or something.
The Associated Press is reporting that SB 7 has passed out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Utilities, and Public Policy by a vote of 10-0. The bill that would require drivers and all passengers to wear seat belts in trucks, SUVs and cars. (Currently the occupants of trucks and truck-plated SUVs are not required to wear seat belts, nor are the back seat occupants of automobiles.)
According to the article:
Bill sponsor Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, said the bill would likely see opposition as it moves to the House.
“It’s not without controversy,” he told senators. “You’re going to hear from constituents talking about their freedom and liberty.”
With respect to the freedom and liberty argument, I think that horse left the barn when the legislature mandated seat belt use for cars. I don’t think there is any principled distinction for mandating the use of seat belts in cars but not trucks or SUVs. I don’t know what the data is about seat belt use saving lives for back seat passengers, so I’m willing to consider the argument that the back seat mandate is unnecessary. But, with regard to front seat passengers, I think seat belt mandates are a good idea for cars, and I don’t see any reason to continue the nonsensical exclusion of trucks and SUVs absent some showing that beltless crashes don’t pose much of a danger to occupants of trucks and SUVs.
The Indy Star’s Michele McNeil has an article entitled Senate OKs bill mandating use of seat belts in pickups
According to the article:
Motorists in pickups and passengers in the back seats of cars would have to buckle up under legislation approved 34-16 Thursday by the Indiana Senate. This expansion of the state’s mandatory seat belt law would mean that Indiana would join 48 other states that don’t exempt pickups.
. . .
This year, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, thinks it’s probably a good idea to make occupants of pickups buckle up. But he’s not sure which committee he’ll assign the bill to. If it goes to Roads and Transportation, Chairman Cleo Duncan, R-Greensburg, has said she doesn’t know if she’ll hear it.
Rep. Bob Alderman, R-Fort Wayne, said he wasn’t inclined to hear the bill in his Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee. “I’m not a believer in birth-to-grave legislation. I don’t want to live your life for you.”
Rep. Alderman’s comment is a good reason not to have seat belt legislation at all. I’d like to hear a cogent explanation for requiring seat belts in cars but not in pickups.
Sen. Dillon makes another excellent point:
But Sen. Gary Dillon, R-Columbia City, a doctor, said the state forks over about $66 million a year on health care for those injured in accidents because they weren’t buckled up.
“When we’re paying that kind of money, it does become our business.”
Maybe, as tbailey says in one of the comments to an earlier post, “Make it an implied consent situation. If you don’t wear a seatbelt you consent to waive any medicare/medicaid/disability payments from the government and agree to pay cash for any longterm nursing home care you may require.”