AUGUSTA, Maine — By a razor-thin margin, the Maine Senate has voted to reduce the state’ s mandatory seat belt law to a secondary offense, meaning a violator could not be given a ticket unless stopped for another offense.
After a debate that pitted personal rights to make choices versus state rights to ensure public safety, senators voted 18-17 Tuesday to pass the bill. It still faces further House and Senate votes.
Under present law, all motorists in Maine must wear a safety belt and can be fined $50 for the first offense and $125 for the second offense.
Tuesday afternoon, the Transportation Committee took up two other traffic-safety proposals, which would outlaw the use of hand-held cellular phones or other electronic devices while driving, and ban texting while driving.