House vote revises Md. safety belt law to include light trucks

April 02, 1991|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun

ANNAPOLIS -- Thanks to the General Assembly, Maryland's mandatory seat belt law is about to pick up pickups.

By a 119-11 vote, the House of Delegates enacted legislation yesterday that expands the seat belt law to include light trucks.

Under current law, automobile drivers, front-seat passengers and children under age 5 must be restrained by a safety belt.

As initially proposed by the Schaefer administration, the legislation would have made failing to wear a seat belt a primary offense. That would have allowed police officers to stop motorists for a seat belt infraction alone. Both the House and Senate rejected that idea as unnecessary.

The legislation approved yesterday also expands the requirement that a child be secured in a safety seat. Instead of applying only to children under age 3, the law will apply to youngsters under age 4 and weighing 40 pounds or less.

It also broadens the seat belt law to include older children. Instead of children under age 5 being required to wear a belt, anyone under age 10 and weighing over 40 pounds will have to use them.

The legislation, which will likely be signed into law by Governor Schaefer later this spring, is set to go into effect July 1.

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