City Council Leaves Seat Belt Law for Public Vote

After much debate from city officials and community activists, the change to city seat belt laws will be in the hands of the voters.

Posted: Nov. 8, 2017 8:04 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) After much debate from city officials and community activists, the change to city seat belt laws will be in the hands of the voters.

City Council voted Monday night not to make a decision on an ordinance that would create a primary seat belt law in the city, giving St. Joseph Police the authority to pull over drivers for seat belt violations.

Currently St. Joseph has a secondary seat belt law that requires an officer to pull over someone for a traffic violation in addition to not wearing a seat belt.

City Council member Kent O'Dell suggested that due to the controversy of the bill, the council leave the vote to the citizens.

"Instead of doing this, we could offer to maybe make a motion to put this (bill) on the ballot. And let the people of the city make up their minds on whether this should come into effect," O'Dell said.

While St. Joseph doesn't currently have a primary seat belt law, Buchanan County does; and seat belt violations are handled by the Buchanan County Sheriffs Department.

The bill will go on the General Election ballot on April 3, 2018.

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