AUGUSTA — A legislative committee has dealt a blow to an effort to roll back the state’s seat belt law.

The Transportation Committee on Friday unanimously rejected Auburn Republican Sen. Eric Brakey’s bill to allow people older than 17 to not wear their seatbelts.

Brakey says the seatbelt mandate is government overreach, but his effort was fiercely opposed by law enforcement and health care officials.

Seeking to compromise, Brakey proposed making the failure to wear a seatbelt a secondary offense, which means that police can only write a ticket only if they stop a motorist for another traffic violation.

But lawmakers were cool to that idea because, like the seat belt repeal, Maine would lose almost $500,000 a year in federal grants.

The full Legislature will now consider the bill.


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