Click it or Ticket

A new law went into effect in Illinois on January 1, 2012 that requires adults riding in the back seat of a car to wear a seatbelt. 

Passed iJune, but becoming effective on January 1, House Bill 219 requires all passengers in a vehicle to buckle up or risk a $25 fine.  Though most people killed in accidents are front seat passengers, 64% of back seat passengers do not wear belts, which make them subject to head, chest, and abdominal trauma in an accident.  According to Naperville Police Chief David Dial, “Anything that’s not tied down in a car, including people, has to come to an abrupt stop when there’s a crash ... There is no doubt that when there are people in a car and the car comes to a stop, they go forward.  I personally would not even think of riding in a car, in any seat, without having a seat belt on.”

The law is considered a “primary offense” which means that officers can pull over a car where the adults are not wearing their belts.  Because of the way the seat belts are designed, police can see if the shoulder strap of the belt is not fastened.  Whether police will seek out seat belt violators or enforce the law in a passive manner (only ticketing those discovered not wearing a belt when stopped for other violations such as speeding) remains to be seen. 

There are just a couple of exceptions to the law.  Authorized Emergency Vehicles are exempt, as are vehicles with “medical exemptions.”  Taxis are exempt, unless you are 18 or under, and riding in one for school purposes.

In Elmhurst, as in other parts of the state, reaction to the new law is mixed.  Is the law requiring adult backseat passengers to buckle their seatbelts justified as it will save lives, or is it an encroachment on their freedom?

Some people think it’s unreasonable to require passengers to buckle up while not requiring helmets for motorcyclists.  Still others think it is a further development of what they term “the nanny state” and that it will only lead to more restrictive legislation.  Finally, there are those who think that the resources of the state and municipalities would be better spent hunting and prosecuting criminals rather than peeking into cars to see that everyone is “snug as a bug.”  Whatever your opinion, it’s now the law – “click it or ticket”.

If you like a lively debate on the issues, Elmhurst may be the place for you.  If you’re looking for property in the DuPage County area, just call me, Tom Makinney, at our home office, (630) 567-5902, or check out my website