This week's 'Ask Evan' question comes from John Q. John asks, "It is my understanding that the statutes of the PA seat belt law specifically state that in order for a person to be cited/fined for not wearing a seat belt while driving, they must first be stopped for another motor vehicle infraction and they cannot be solely targeted for a seat belt violation. If true, does the state's "Click it or Ticket" enforcement program smack of unconstitutionally?
First and foremost, the state's Click it or Ticket enforcement program does include any type of checkpoints solely for the purpose of checking to see if you are wearing a seat belt. Most of the enforcement efforts involve a speed detail where officers are also looking to see if you are wearing your seat belt.
You are correct in that a primary violation needs to happen, unless the motorist and/or passengers are under the age of 18, in which case seat belt usage is a primary law. Other primary violations include children being in approved restraint systems or car seats. Those infractions can get you stopped as a primary violation and then a subsequent seat belt ticket too.
Furthermore, the Click it or Ticket program means enforcement details are conducted to take a zero tolerance approach for drivers and front seat passengers not wearing seat belts. A driver stopped for a violation, whose not wearing a seat belt, will not get a seat belt warning--but will get a ticket with a 75 dollar fine.
When it comes to actual checkpoints- there are DUI checkpoints which have withstood legal challenges- but no seat belt checkpoints.
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