All Illinois Passengers May Need To Buckle Up

It may soon become illegal not to wear a safety belt while sitting in the back seat of a vehicle in Illinois. The Illinois Senate sent the legislation to Governor Pat Quinn on May 27th to be signed into law.

Current laws in Illinois only require passengers under 19 years of age to wear seat belts in the back seat. All occupants in the front seat must wear seat belts. If the bill is passed, there would be exclusions including the back seats of limos, taxis and emergency vehicles.

The legislation became important to sponsor State Representative Michael Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) when he heard the story of a local widow, Paula Doren.

Paula's husband Larry Doren was killed in a 2006 crash that occurred while he was driving with his co-workers un-belted in the back seat of his Honda CRV. Paula claims that her husband's death was partially caused by the injuries sustained when the back seat passengers' flew forward and struck him.

Supporters of the measure feel that the law will prevent injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. "We're going to save lives and serious injuries, which in effect saves taxpayers a lot of money," explained State Representative Mark Beaubien.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is also sponsoring the bill, strengthening support for the measure. "The Senate President has long advocated for traffic safety initiatives that protect motorists and their passengers and save lives," read a statement from Cullerton's office.

Critics of the bill say that it is too controlling and that the state government is overreaching.

If Governor Quinn signs the bill into law, Illinois will become the twelfth state to require all passengers to wear safety belts.