Thursday, May 10, 2001

Seat-belt ticket idea is dropped

The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Stung by criticism from legislators and under a cloud of questionable legality, the Kentucky State Police will back off a plan to set up safety roadblocks to ticket drivers not wearing seat belts.

        In a statement late Wednesday, Commissioner Ishmon Burks said no ticket will be issued to drivers whose only offense is not wearing a seat belt.

        The motorist will be provided “educational material” instead of a citation and accompanying fine. Mr. Burks said it was important to stress that the intent of the program was to increase public awareness of seat-belt use, not issue tickets.

        “There were some concerns about the legal dynamics of this program after our press conference yesterday,” Mr. Burks said in the statement.

        “I'm pleased to hear that,” said Rep. Jodie Haydon, D-Bardstown.

        Deputy Commissioner Linda Smith announced Tuesday that state police and dozens of local law-enforcement agencies would set up 1,500 safety checkpoints from May 21 to June 3 in every county. At those checkpoints, she said people in motor vehicles not wearing seat belts would be given citations.

        Mr. Burks did not attend the Tuesday news conference.

        Kentucky law requires people in a vehicle made since 1965 that carries fewer than 10 people to wear seat belts.


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