(b) A law enforcement agency may not use a safety belt checkpoint to detect and issue a citation for a person’s failure to comply with this chapter.
As added by P.L.214-2007, SEC.8.
I would like to point out the disparity between the purpose of the statute above, and how the Rushville PD wielded it in my case. Presumably, the seat belt laws were drafted with motorists’ safety in mind, and are not meant to be a mechanism for interrogation. A seat belt stop should only be made to ensure the safety of the individual driver and his/her passengers. As such, it stands to reason that such a stop should not include any type of interrogation or search, as they have no reasonable suspicion to believe that you are/have endangered anyone but yourself. The spirit of the law is to keep us safe.
I accept that we were ticketed for a seat belt infraction, so that is not the issue. I do not want our citizens to be treated rudely, prejudicially, and especially, unlawfully. We have a right to privacy and we have a right to travel. These are not privileges that can be given or taken at whim. Even by an officer who does not know the law. Considering that I find the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution an important issue, I found my experience awfully close to that “ slippery slope” and one I had hoped to avoid. Up to that point in our friend’s visit, she had been loving Indiana and we were thrilled to show her around. The way she was treated was an embarrassment and a shame, in our opinion.
I ask you, Reader, do we want our public employees treating our citizens and, especially tourists, in this manner?
Chairman, Rush County Libertarian Party