Seat Belt Bill Targets Taxi Passengers

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A Nevada Senate panel heard testimony
Wednesday on a bill to let police ticket cab passengers for not
wearing seat belts, and also ticket cabbies who don't ensure that
children riding in their taxis are buckled up.

SB145 would make failure to wear seat belts in cabs a primary
offense. Existing law allows police to ticket unbelted persons in
taxis only if the cab is already stopped for another offense or if
persons in the cab are arrested for another reason.

The bill reviewed by the Senate Energy, Infrastructure and
Transportation Committee and sponsored by the panel's chairman,
Sen. Mike Schneider, also would let police ticket adult cab
passengers for failing to ensure their children are wearing seat
belts.

Violators would be fined $25 for the first offense, and $50 for
any repeat offenses. The citations wouldn't count as moving
violations. Cabbies also would have to post clear, visible signs
advising passengers that they must wear seat belts.

Schneider said children were his main reason for proposing the
bill, adding that organizations in southern Nevada alerted him to
the issue.

"Children are riding in cabs and people get in them. Children
aren't buckled up, especially small children," Schneider said
after the hearing. "This would be a way to secure children better
and reduce injuries."

Gene Porter, representing the Frias Holding Company, proposed an
amendment to prevent people not wearing seat belts in cabs and
injured as a result from suing cab drivers, operators and
companies, as long as signs are visible in taxis requiring
passengers and children to wear seat belts.

"Our drivers are not police officers, we do not have the power
to compel," Porter said. "We hope that our passengers put seat
belts on, we encourage them to put seat belts on, but if we don't
there's not a whole lot we can do it about it."

After discussion among committee members, Schneider said issues
about liability raised in Porter's proposed amendment will be
worked out between committee legal staff and taxi companies before
another hearing or work session is held.


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