Traffic safety has gotten renewed attention in recent years as highway fatalities jumped by a third. Last year the General Assembly addressed distracted driving by prohibiting motorists from handling their cell phones while driving.
This year, Sen. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia, sponsored Senate Bill 160, which would require all occupants of passenger vehicles to wear seat belts. The bill went nowhere. Instead, senators created a committee to study the issue. It held its first meeting Wednesday and is expected to report its findings by Dec. 1.
Anderson said she’s “very optimistic” her legislation – or something like it – will pass the General Assembly next year.
“It’s a common-sense effort to save lives,” she said.
Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, chairman of the study committee, was noncommittal. He said the committee is just beginning to gather information. But he said it's clear there's a problem that needs the state's attention – perhaps through additional education efforts to encourage people to wear seat belts.
“It sounds like we could have some money well spent if we had some more public service campaigns,” Albers told the committee.