Legislation calling for a primary seat belt law has been filed by the Missouri House Transportation Committee Chairman.

State Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) speaks on the Missouri House floor in 2017 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications}

Under current Missouri law, motorists cannot be stopped or inspected solely to determine seat belt compliance.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) notes the Show-Me State is one of 16 states without a primary seat belt law.

State Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, has filed a bill that would allow law enforcement officers to enforce the seat belt law as a stand-alone offense.

MoDOT state highway safety and traffic engineer Nicole Hood testified in November that Missouri fatality crashes increased nine percent in 2016. She says 950 people died in Missouri traffic crashes in 2016.

Hood also testifies that Missouri ranks 50th in a safety report conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC).

During that November hearing, Hood urged lawmakers to pass a primary seat belt law and to strengthen the no-texting law.

Missouri’s current texting ban only applies to motorists under the age of 21.

MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna describes texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving as an “epidemic.”

Reiboldt, who was elected to the Missouri House in 2010, is serving his fourth and final House term.