Governor’s Communications Director Erin Isaac reported to Historic City News that Governor Charlie Crist plans to sign the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law (SB 344) today.
The bill will allow police to pull over drivers who aren’t wearing the seat belts.
Current law only allows police to ticket drivers for a seat belt violation if they pull them over for something else first.
The measure has been pushed for years by former Rep. Irv Slosberg, whose daughter died in a crash.
Historic City News spoke to Sgt. Chuck Mulligan today who pointed out that the purpose of all traffic stops is to gain “willful compliance with traffic safety laws, to change driving behavior and keep motorists safe.”
Mulligan says that the patrol and traffic divisions of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office have been writing seat belt violation tickets for years and that the change in the law is not expected to change the focus of their traffic safety mission.
Sheriff Shoar was the victim of a drunk driver in a collision that occurred near his home; Shoar had just unbuckled his seat belt as he was turning off of SR A1A onto his street. Shoar says that he knows “first hand” the importance of wearing seat belts and that he is a firm believer that seat belts can save lives.
The Sheriff’s Office will continue to participate in statewide programs such as “Click-it-or-Ticket”, in fact, Mulligan reported, there is a new campaign beginning soon.
Historic City News staff photograph