Pick-up drivers may have to buckle up, too - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pick-up drivers may have to buckle up, too

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Georgia is the only state that does not require adults in pickup trucks to buckle up, but that could soon change. Wednesday, Senators passed the bill with little opposition, which is now in the house.

There are mixed emotions regarding this legislation. The current version of the bill has been amended to exempt exempts off-road vehicles and pickups used for farming. While some farmers are okay with this, others say why change something that's become so normal for South Georgia farmers for so many years.

Farmers spend a lot of time getting in and out of their trucks.  "You go from field to field on the highway half a mile and you are in and out of your truck," said Ben Goff.

And some say a seat belt just gets in the way.  "I got my buzzer turned off on my truck to where it won't ding I went through and pulled the fuse on it so it will stop ‘dinging'" Goff said.

So some farmers just don't wear one... and for years that's been allowed in Georgia.

"I don't like to wear them. I don't think you should have to wear them," said Emory Spicer.

But things could soon change for not only farmers, but all pickup truck drivers. Wednesday, Senators passed a bill which would require pickup truck drivers to wear seat belts.

"I don't like em...  getting out so much and gotta take em off... I don't like em," Spicer said.

But the bill has been amended to exempt farmers from wearing the belt with agricultural pursuits normal to farming operation.

 "You have to go half a mile down the field get out... go another half a mile down the field get out... it is going to hurt somebody snatching them out of their car," Spicer said.

But not all farmers are opposed to the possibility.  "If you are used to doing it then it's no problem."

Scott Vann knows firsthand what all a seat belt can do. "If you get into a bad accident, I think you will be glad you had it on," he said.

Ten years ago, Vann was turning into his farm off Highway 82 when he was rear ended by a semi truck.

"This is a busy highway and I'm on it a lot and I turn off it a lot and you never know when someone is not going to see your blinker," he said.

If the bill becomes law, some say they will gladly obey. "If they pass the bill I reckon we have to wear them," said Spicer.

But others would rather face the penalties rather than buckle up. "I'm willing to get a ticket rather than wear my seat belt," Goff said.

Now the bill is in the House, which if approved, may become law.  If the legislation passes Georgia would be eligible for federal incentive grants.

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