05-30-2012

Beshear signs legislation to expand seat belt law

Kentucky Press News Service

ELIZABETHTOWN – Gov. Steve Beshear, joined by state officials and highway safety advocates, Wednesday signed a bill that will expand Kentucky’s seat belt law to include vehicles designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers. State law previously required seat belt use in vehicles designed to carry 10 or fewer passengers.

“I’m pleased that we are closing a loophole in the previous law that neglected to protect drivers and passengers in 15-passenger vans,” Beshear said in a statement released by his office. “In my administration, safety is, and will continue to be, a top priority.”

Sen. Ernie Harris, of Crestwood, and Sen. Julie Denton, of Louisville, filed Senate Bill 89 in response to a 15-passenger van crash in 2010 on I-65 near Munfordville that killed 11 people, most of whom were not wearing seat belts.

“With the accident two years ago, it became evident that Kentucky’s seatbelt laws did not adequately protect some travelling on our roadways,” Harris said. “It is my hope that with this new law, this horrible tragedy will never be repeated.”

Beshear was joined by Harris, Sen. Dennis Parrett, of Elizabethtown, and Kentuckians for Better Transportation Director Stan Lampe for the signing held at the KSP Police Post in Elizabethtown.

“The passage of SB 89 is distinctly encouraging because it sends a message that our elected officials are serious when it comes to transportation safety,” Lampe said. “Gov. Beshear, Sen. Harris and all of the members of the 2012 Kentucky General Assembly deserve some considerable praise for their leadership on this important piece of legislation. With this measure, our officials have taken another step to improve roadway safety. We, in turn, should all ‘buckle up’ and tell our family and friends to do the same.”