Push for KCMO citywide seat belt ordinance - KCTV5

Push for KCMO citywide seat belt ordinance

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Soon Kansas City police could be able to pull people over if they aren't wearing their seatbelt.

As soon as someone crosses over the state line from Kansas to Missouri, there are no laws enforcing seatbelt usage, so Kansas City, MO, council members are taking on the problem citywide.

City councilman John Sharp hasn't always been a seatbelt buckler.

"I wasn't. I became one after I headed the ambulance service and saw wrecks where you wouldn't think anyone would possibly survive and people walked away with bruises and bumps because they were seatbelted in and other situations where there's hardly any damage to the vehicles and people were killed," Sharp said.

Sharp's firsthand experience combined with startling state line-divided statistics resulted in a proposal that will first be introduced this week to city council.

"I'm working with Councilman Scott Wagner to pass an ordinance to allow us to pull over folks if they aren't wearing their seatbelts or don't have their children in a child safety seat or booster seat," Sharp said.

According to the Mid-America Regional Council, on the Missouri side of the metro the number of fatality crashes is more than double than those in Kansas. The Kansas City Police Department said 70 percent of fatal crashes inside the city involve unbelted passengers.

Lawmakers like Wagner believe Kansas' seatbelt law made a difference in driver habit – compared to Missouri where drivers cannot be pulled over for being unbelted.

"It's a surprise to most people when we talk about this, that we don't have this in Kansas City," he said.

If passed, Kansas City will join 40 other Missouri cities in making unbelted driving a primary violation, resulting in a $50 ticket. The other piece to the proposal would ticket parents who don't put their children in child safety seats, which would also result in a $50 ticket and a non-moving violation.

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