Would you think twice about wearing your seatbelt if the penalty for not wearing one rose from a fine of 20 dollars to 100? Dick Barrett with Missoula Senate District 45 introduced a bill today about raising that violation:

"It certainly does not change the seatbelt offense from a secondary to a primary offense. That's not what this bill does. It does not create any new offense," Barrett said. "All it does is increase the penalty for the existing offense, from what I would argue is a trivial amount, to an amount that really begins to give any potential offender something to think about."

Barrett said the intention of the bill is to increase the deterring effect of the current law by making the penalty for violating it more severe.

"The sad fact is that Montana has one of the highest death rates on the road of any state in the country. That is in terms of per vehicle mile traveled we have one of the highest death rates in the country," Barrett said. "But we also have about the smallest number of highway safety laws of any state in the country."

Barrett said even though not wearing a seatbelt in Montana is illegal, “we don’t put our money where our mouth is. And this bill will show people that we mean it.”

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