Cops can now pull over unbuckled driversStarting today, police in Wisconsin will have the power to pull over motorists simply for not wearing their seat belts.
By: Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio
Starting today, police in Wisconsin will have the power to pull over motorists simply for not wearing their seat belts.
Currently, officers can ticket drivers for not being buckled up, but only if they’re pulled over for something else first.
This new law changes that, and that means that as long as police suspect you're not wearing your seat belt, that would be reason enough to pull you over.
Supporters like AAA Wisconsin have argued for years that this will reduce traffic deaths. Spokesman Larry Kamholz says the fact that it's now law is a pretty big deal.
He says statistics have long shown that by just wearing a seat belt, it reduces chances of being fatally or seriously injured in a traffic crash.
This is an issue that's been introduced regularly at the capitol without success.
What made the difference this year is that it was included as part of the budget and tied to a $15 million incentive from the federal government.
Critics call it a case of federal blackmail and say this would have never passed the legislature on its own merits.
They worry it will give police an excuse to pull over motorists who've done nothing wrong.