While a word to the wise is not always sufficient, forewarned is forearmed. The State of Kansas is looking out for you as you make your holiday rounds. Shoppers need to be aware that police patrols are super alert to seat belt violations. They are making primary traffic stops for suspicion of not being properly belted in.
It all sounds fair enough. What is surprising, however, is that officers will be checking for more than to see if you are belted in. Huh? Here is where it gets a little confusing. The officer expects that you will be wearing the seat belt in a way that conforms to what the original manufacturer of your vehicle intended and subsequently demonstrated to the federal government according to the federal motor vehicle standard number 213.
There is, however, an exception. If you have a medical reason that makes conforming to the law difficult, police require that you carry a written excuse from your medical provider in your glove box or on your person at all times.
Depending on the age of your vehicle, you may not need to wear a shoulder harness assembly. But if the manufacturer has provided a passive restraint system, you are required to use it in the manner that the manufacturer intended. According to management at the Leawood (KS) police department, the exact regulations are available in Section 182 of the suggested Kansas Motor Vehicle code which has in turn been promulgated to the local enforcement units and adopted by the municipalities. The fine for this mysterious offense is minimal.
More expensive are violations that make possible citations if your children are riding in a certain prescribed manner in your vehicle. If your child is under age 14, you are required to provide child passenger restraints excess of what the manufacturer has already provided. Restrictions for children younger than eight year are specified in the law but all link back to the federal standards in place at the time of the offense.
According to the Leawood Kansas Police, this is all part of specific enforcement programs promulgated several times by the Kansas Department of Transportation each year for various kinds of stated offenses. The way it works is that the state encourages the local entities to step up enforcement for a set time period. The state authorizes a grant program to reimburse the cities for overtime pay of officers who volunteer to make these special traffic stops. Although these payments are not tied to a number of stops, the state does track the production of tickets written.
The bottom line is that Kansas wants to stay out of your business, but is still very concerned with your safety. Additional study of traffic regulations is recommended for all drivers and especially those who may be transporting underage persons. Copies of the regulations with specified fines for various infractions are available online.