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Fri, Oct 31, 2014

TN Report: Ketron promotes seat belt bill

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Bikers over 25 who have met safety requirements would be able to ride sans helmet, under a bill that advanced Thursday at the Capitol.

The Senate Transportation Committee also voted to bump up the fine for not wearing a seat belt, from $10 to $50.

The helmet bill, SB548, sponsored by Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, would allow older bikers to ride helmet-free if they meet minimum insurance requirements and complete a qualified safety course, as well as pay a $50 fee to the state.

The committee approved the measure to ease helmet restrictions by a vote of 6-3.



Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, questioned whether the insurance requirements were high enough considering the cost of “traumatic brain injuries,” and speculated that the state may have to cover long-term health costs of those injured in an accident while not wearing a helmet.

Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, disagreed that any fiscal issues applied to the legislation.

“It’s obvious that if you’re not wearing a helmet, you’re in the morgue,” Niceley said. “That’s bad, that’s terrible, but that’s not something where we need to worry about dollars here. We can’t worry about that side of it.”

“It makes the undertakers money, but it saves the state money,” he added.

Sen. Bill Ketron said his seat belt bill, SB 847, is needed to promote safety.

With the second lowest fine in the country for not wearing a seatbelt, Tennessee saw a decline of 4 percent in seat belt use over the year 2011, the Murfreesboro Republican said.

Conversely, Ketron said, Washington state has the highest fine in the nation and the highest percentage of seat belt usage.

“I know some people don’t like wearing them, but it is our law,” Ketron said.

Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, said she thinks that people should be able to take care of themselves in situations like this without a law to guide them. Beavers said an increase in seat belt enforcement would distract law enforcement from more important issues.

The committee approved the bill, 5-4.

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Bill Ketron, Fatality, Politics, Seat Belts, Tennessee, Traffic, Wreck
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Members Opinions:
March 18, 2013 at 1:01pm
good grief-they pass laws to make people wear seat belts but then pass laws to let motorcycle riders ride w/out a helmet? does that make any sense?
March 25, 2013 at 8:45am
That makes NO sense at all!!!!
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