Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to immediately provide for the use of safety belts in certain motor vehicles, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public safety.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Chapter 90 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 13 the following section:-
Section 13A. No person shall operate a private passenger motor vehicle or ride in a private passenger motor vehicle, a vanpool vehicle or truck under eighteen thousand pounds on any way unless such person is wearing a safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to:
(a) any child less than twelve years of age who is subject to the provisions of section seven AA;
(b) any person riding in a motor vehicle manufactured before July first, nineteen hundred and sixty-six;
(c) any person who is physically unable to use safety belts; provided, however, that such condition is duly certified by a physician who shall state the nature of the handicap, as well as the reasons such restraint is inappropriate; provided, further, that no such physician shall be subject to liability in any civil action for the issuance or for the failure to issue such certificate;
(d) any rural carrier of the United States Postal Service operating a motor vehicle while in the performance of his duties; provided, however, that such rural mail carrier shall be subject to department regulations regarding the use of safety belts or occupant crash protection devices;
(e) anyone involved in the operation of taxis, liveries, tractors, trucks with gross weight of eighteen thousand pounds or over, buses, and passengers of authorized emergency vehicles.
Any person who operates a motor vehicle without a safety belt, and any person sixteen years of age or over who rides as a passenger in a motor vehicle without wearing a safety belt in violation of this section, shall be subject to a fine of twenty-five dollars. Any operator of a motor vehicle shall be subject to an additional fine of twenty-five dollars for each person under the age of sixteen and no younger than twelve who is a passenger in said motor vehicle and not wearing a safety belt. The provisions of this section shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when an operator of a motor vehicle has been stopped for a violation of the motor vehicle laws or some other offense.
Any person who receives a citation for violating this section may contest such citation pursuant to section three of chapter ninety C. A violation of this section shall not be considered as a conviction of a moving violation of the motor vehicle laws for the purpose of determining surcharges on motor vehicle premiums pursuant to section one hundred and thirteen B of chapter one hundred and seventy-five.
SECTION 2. The provisions of section one of this act shall apply to any municipal, county or district public employee.
SECTION 3. Failure to wear a properly fastened safety belt shall not be considered as contributory negligence or used as evidence in any civil action.
SECTION 4. The registrar of motor vehicles shall require, pursuant to his authority under section twenty-nine of chapter ninety of the General Laws, that police officers shall record the use or non-use of safety belts when reporting automobile accidents.
SECTION 5. The secretary of public safety shall direct the governor's highway safety bureau to conduct an extensive public information and education program in motor vehicle occupant protection, evaluate the effectiveness of this act, including the degree of compliance with the provisions of this act and report its findings to the general court no later than June first, nineteen hundred and ninety-five.
SECTION 6. The secretary of consumer affairs shall direct the commissioner of insurance to evaluate the effectiveness of this act and frequency of bodily injury claims during the year following the effective date of this act and report its findings and recommendations to the general court.
SECTION 7. The commissioner of insurance shall mandate a minimum five percent reduction in bodily injury premiums if the observed safety belt use rate among all occupants equals or exceeds fifty percent one year after this law has been in effect. Annual surveys of belt use shall be conducted by the governor's highway safety bureau and shall conform to standards approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Annual safety belt survey results shall be a criterion in all future regulatory actions regarding bodily injury premiums. If at any time the safety belt use rate in the commonwealth exceeds the national average, additional reductions in bodily injury premiums shall take effect.
SECTION 8. No insurance company doing business in the commonwealth shall deny coverage to any individual who has failed to wear a safety belt during the occurrence of an accident resulting in bodily injury; nor shall any insurance company deny an individual the right to purchase a motor vehicle liability policy based on a violation of the provisions of section thirteen A of chapter ninety of the General Laws.
SECTION 9. This act shall take effect on February first, nineteen
This Bill having been returned by His Excellency the Governor with his
objections thereto in writing (see House 5739) has been passed by the
House of Representatives, notwithstanding said objections, two-thirds of
the House (105 yeas to 49 nays) having agreed to pass the same.
Passed by the Senate, notwithstanding the objections of His Excellency
the Governor, two-thirds of the members present (26 yeas to 11 nays)
having approved the same.