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Summary

This law requires drivers and passengers in certain motor vehicles on public ways to wear properly adjusted and fastened safety belts. The law applies to persons driving or riding in private passenger motor vehicles or riding in vanpool vehicles or trucks under 18,000 pounds. It also applies to employees of cities, towns, counties, and districts. The law does not apply to: (1) children under twelve years old who are required by another state law to use safety belts or other child passenger restraints; (2) vehicles manufactured before July 1,1966; (3) persons certified by a physician as physically unable to use safety belts; (4) U.S. Postal Service rural carriers while performing their duties; (5) persons involved in operating taxis, liveries, tractors, trucks of 18,000 pounds or more, buses; or (6) passengers in authorized emergency vehicles.

The law is enforced by law enforcement agencies only when a driver has been stopped for a motor vehicle violation or some other offense. A driver and each passenger 16 years old or older may be fined $25 for not using a safety belt when required. A driver may also be fined $25 for each passenger between 12 and 16 years old who is not using a safety belt when required. A person who receives a citation for violating the law may challenge it using the same procedure that applies to most other automobile law violations. A violation is not considered a moving violation for motor vehicle insurance surcharge purposes.

The law directs the state Registrar of Motor Vehicles to require police officers, when reporting automobile accidents, to record whether safety belts were used. The law directs the Governor's Highway Safety Bureau to (1) conduct a public information and education program on motor vehicle occupant protection; (2) evaluate and report to the Legislature, by June 1,1995, on the effectiveness and degree of compliance with the law; and (3) make annual surveys of safety belt use.

The law requires the state Commissioner of Insurance to evaluate, report, and make recommendations to the Legislature concerning the effectiveness of the law and the frequency of bodily injury claims during the law's first year of operation. The Commissioner must also require at least a 5% reduction in bodily injury insurance premiums if the observed safety belt use rate among all vehicle occupants is 50% or more after the law's first year of operation. The Commissioner is required to take into account the annual safety belt use survey results in future decisions setting bodily injury premiums and the Commissioner must further reduce those premiums if the safety belt use rate in Massachusetts exceeds the national average.

The law provides that failure to wear a properly fastened safety belt may not be considered as contributory negligence or used as evidence in any civil lawsuit. It also states that no insurance company may either (1) deny coverage to a person who failed to wear a safety belt during an accident that led to bodily injury, or (2) refuse to issue a motor vehicle liability policy based on a violation of this law.

1994 Nov 8 :: State of Massachusetts :: Question 2 :: ReferendumDo you approve of a law summarized below, which was approved by the House of Representatives on January 4, 1994, by a vote of 105 to 49, and approved by the Senate on January 4, 1994, by a vote of 26 to 11?

View as: # | %  
Ward
Yes
No
Blank Votes Total Votes Cast Total Ballots Cast
Totals
 
12,539
8,577
1,173
21,116
22,289
Precinct 1
 
328
345
65
673
738
Precinct 2
 
425
410
71
835
906
Precinct 3
 
319
379
59
698
757
Precinct 1
 
454
303
51
757
808
Precinct 2
 
596
361
61
957
1,018
Precinct 3
 
645
349
59
994
1,053
Precinct 1
 
641
424
78
1,065
1,143
Precinct 2
 
567
380
51
947
998
Precinct 3
 
679
466
76
1,145
1,221
Precinct 1
 
433
422
60
855
915
Precinct 2
 
455
446
58
901
959
Precinct 3
 
519
419
42
938
980
Precinct 1
 
508
482
35
990
1,025
Precinct 2
 
606
469
46
1,075
1,121
Precinct 3
 
670
431
56
1,101
1,157
Precinct 1
 
971
414
36
1,385
1,421
Precinct 2
 
856
395
60
1,251
1,311
Precinct 3
 
742
330
36
1,072
1,108
Precinct 1
 
772
449
42
1,221
1,263
Precinct 2
 
658
396
74
1,054
1,128
Precinct 3
 
695
507
57
1,202
1,259
Totals
 
12,539
8,577
1,173
21,116
22,289