Belt Change In

A provision allowing law enforcement officers to stop vehicles when occupants are not wearing seat belts is part of a Senate transportation bill that passed Thursday.

Any passenger older than 15 not wearing a belt would be subject to a $25 fine, while a driver would be fined another $25 for each passenger not buckled up.

Sen. Mary Olson, DFL-Bemidji, said that the current law, that does not allow police to stop vehicles for seat belt violations, sends a message that seat belt use is not important.

"We have a mandatory seat belt law," countered Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm. "The only thing we can’t do … is policeman can’t stop you if you aren’t wearing a seat belt."

Also in the measure are provisions supporting a proposed Twin Cities-to-Chicago high-speed rail line. An attempt to route the line through Rochester, home of Mayo Clinic, failed.