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St. Louis County police looking for seat belt scofflaws

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis County police have launched an intensive patrol in South County to build awareness of the county's new seat belt ordinance.

The new law makes not wearing a seat belt a primary offense, allowing cops to pull over a driver for that reason. In the past, no-seat belt tickets could only be written if a driver was pulled over for another traffic offense like speeding.

The county will saturate an 8-mile stretch of Tesson Ferry Road from the county line to Highway 30 over the next two weeks. The stretch has the highest number of fatal accidents in the county. The patrol is combined with new signs reminding drivers about the county's ordinance, and is not designed to generate revenue by writing tickets, said county police officer Scott Roach.

Traffic safety advocates will also continue to push for a law to give cops the same power statewide. "I can pull you over because your license plate light is out, but the seat belt law is the only law statewide that I cannot pull you over for," Roach said.

Studies show that a primary seat belt law could save 90 additional lives in the state.


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