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Debate For Tougher Seat Belt Laws

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Not buckling up could cost you your life and a new bill being considered by Colorado law makers could also cost you financially, if you're caught in a vehicle without your seatbelt.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, preliminary data from Mesa County shows 75% of passengers use their seat belt. They also say an estimated 22 deaths could be prevented each year with a primary seat belt law.

The new piece of legislation may want you to think twice about not wearing a seatbelt.

"I would say that seatbelts 100% of the time save a life," said Grand Junction local Carl Franklin.

Colorado is currently one of 17 states that allows officers to cite a driver only after they have been pulled over for another reason.

"Everyone should automatically wear their seatbelt. It shouldn't even come to question."

Franklin who has been involved in several accidents says implementing tougher laws on seat belts will help save someone's life.  

"When I was in that accident they weren't wearing their seatbelt. They were also on their phone texting and I was turned off by the lack of responsibility that came from it."

Now supporters of the bill want to allow law enforcement to stop and cite a driver for failing to wear a seatbelt.

Many say it may help save the life of not just themselves and others, but it shouldn't be up for law makers to decide.

"If the individual wants to put themselves at risk, if that's how they see it, I believe it should be their choice," said Brett Arnold, one who is against seat belt laws.

Megan Alfaro agreed for it to be people's choice --"It's kind of your own personal choice if you're going to wear your seatbelt, but when it comes to minors in a vehicle I definitely think it should be a primary offense."

Senate Bill 53 would require all passengers in private vehicles to buckle up and Franklin says this could be the difference between life or death.

CDOT will also re-launch their campaign, Beware of the Beltless, to increase seat belt use starting March.

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