Is It Proper to place someone in jail for a seatbelt violation Essay

Is It Proper to place someone in jail for a seatbelt violation Essay

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     States across the nation have seat belt laws in place that make it a requirement for drivers and passengers in vehicles that are being operated on public streets to wear some sort of safety belt. In 1998, 41,471 people were killed in 6,334,000 reported motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Seat belts are estimated to save 9,500 lives each year, and statistics show a higher degree of seat-belt use in states that aggressively enforce seat belt laws. The laws, as well as the punishments available for violation of the laws vary by state. In most states, however, it is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by a small fine. The properness of an arrest for such violations is a good question and has been addressed by various courts including the Supreme Court.
     In North Carolina, the “Click It or Ticket” program was put into place in 1993 by former Governor Jim Hunt to increase safety belt and child safety use rates through stepped up enforcement of the state’s safety belt law. According to North Carolina’s safety belt law all drivers and front seat passengers over the age of 16 are required to wear safety belts. Children less than age 16 are covered under the North Carolina Child Restraint Law. This law requires that children must be buckled up no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. Violators of the safety belt law are issued tickets and are subject to a fine of $25 plus $50 court costs. These violations have been defined as “infractions” and are not entered on driving records. In addition to this, effective January 1, 2005, any child less than 8 years old or 80 pounds in weight must ride in a booster seat. Violations of this law will result in a $25 fine plus court costs as well as having 2 points placed against driver’s license. However, drivers cited for this violation of this law for a 5,6, or 7 year old will be able to have the charges dismissed if they present proof to the court that they have acquired an appropriate restraint for that child. Statistics have been gathered on safety belt use since this program began and has shown that seat belt use has increased from 65 percent to 84 percent. It has also shown that fatal and serious injuries in North Carolina have been cut by 14 percent. Resulting in a savings of at least $135 million in health care related costs. Other positive ef...


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...rrests for all sorts of relatively minor offenses unaccompanied by violence, including, among others, night walking, unlawful game-playing, profane cursing, and negligent carriage-driving. The Supreme Court has acknowledged that the court has had little to say about warrantless misdemeanor arrest authority; however in what little they have said they have focused on the circumstance that an offense was committed in the officer’s presence, to the omission of any reference to a breach of the peace limitation.
     It has been determined by the Supreme Court that it is proper to arrest someone for a violation of a seat belt law if it has been violated in the presence of an officer. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have statutes that permit warrantless misdemeanor arrests by at least some peace officers without requiring any breach of the peace. Because The “Click it or Ticket” program in North Carolina has served as a model for the nation and the Presidential Initiative for Increasing safety belt use Nationwide highly recommends that other communities adopt this program it appears as though safety belt laws will continue to exist for years to come.

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