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Federal Regulators Want Tough Push on Enforcing Seat-Belt Laws

August 6, 2003

Uncle Sam wants you -- to wear your seat belt. And he wants to get a lot tougher about making sure you do, according to the Wall Street Journal.The federal government wants more police assigned to ticket those who don't wear seat belts, bigger fines for seat-belt scofflaws, and limits on the personal-injury damage awardspeople can seek if they are injured in a car accident while not wearing a belt, the Journal reported.States that don't pass tougher, "primary enforcement" laws enabling police to pull over a motorist just because he or she isn'twearing a safety belt could lose a chunk of precious highway money, if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has itsway. What's more, NHTSA is pushing -- albeit gingerly -- for automakers to once again consider putting so-called interlock systems in at least some cars that would make it impossible (or inconvenient) to drivewithout a buckled belt, the Journal said.NHTSA is also proposing to use data collectedfrom onboard computers to determine whether occupants of cars involved in crashes had their belts on, according to the Journal.
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