Friday, January 14, 2011

Witchita cops: It's either an OEM seat belt or a ticket

A Kansas man is protesting his state's move to make failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense, so he wears his own seat belt.  KWCH-TV reports:
Paul Weigand buckles up long before getting behind the wheel.  "It's the law, you have to wear a seat belt and I don't want to forget to put it on, so I just wear it all the time," Weigand said.

That's right, he regularly wears a special made seat belt that doesn't do much more than sit on his waist.  "I just don't like wearing a seat belt and I don't think I should have to." 
Police disagree.  He was pulled over recently and although he says the cops thought his seat belt was amusing, they still wrote him a ticket.  "No where in the ordinance does it say it has to be attached to the vehicle. So I'm testing the law," he said.
Mr. Weigand is pushing the plain meaning of the Kansas seat belt statute close right to the edge:
[E]ach front seat occupant of a passenger car manufactured with safety belts in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 208, who is 18 years of age or older, shall have a safety belt properly fastened about such person's body at all times when the passenger car is in motion.

But his case raises an interesting question: What if a driver used a reputable aftermarket seat belt which a police officer didn't recognize or like?

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