What seemed like a big leap for traffic safety in Kansas may turn out to be a baby step.
Sure, police can now pull you over because you're not wearing a seat belt. But the consequences won't cost you much more than a Big Mac.
Even as the Kansas Legislature agreed to expand its seat belt law, it reduced the fine for adult drivers from $30 to $5 until mid-2011, when it increases to $10. And that includes court costs.
At $5, the Kansas penalty is the lowest seat belt fine in the nation, according to data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
"I just wonder whether a fine that low would have much of an effect," said Anne McCartt, the institute's senior vice president for research.
Under the old law, Kansas drivers could be cited for a seat belt violation only if they were pulled over for some other reason. That's the way it still is in Missouri.
But Kansas this year passed a "primary" seat belt law, which says failure to buckle up is reason enough for an officer to stop you. Passing the law will get the state an extra $11 million from the federal government, including $1 million for traffic safety efforts.
Kansas officers have been writing tickets under the new law for several weeks. But the fine won't kick in until Wednesday.
Read the full story on KansasCity.com