Monday, June 27, 2011

Back-seat passengers will have to buckle up

By Jamey Dunn

Beginning January 1, passengers riding in the backseat of a vehicles in Illinois will be required to wear their safety belts.

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed House Bill 219, which makes Illinois the 26th state to require all passengers in a vehicle to buckle up. Illinois has previously required that front-sent passengers and any passengers under the age of 18 wear their seat belts.

The measure was sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton and former Barrington Republican Rep. Mark Beaubian, who died before seeing the bill signed into law. Quinn said today of Beaubian, “[He] believed in the public interest and helping other people and saving lives.”

According to the Illinois State Police, passengers who fail to wear their seat belts could be fined up to $60, which does not include any court costs that might be associated with the charge. Passengers in taxis and emergency vehicles will be exempt from the requirement.

“By the governor signing this bill today, I would anticipate we’ll save at least 25 to 30 lives next year,” Cullerton said. “This is the most important thing that we can do. … This one affects people’s lives. It’s literally going to save lives. There’s nothing more important than that."

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