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Seat belts for all

The Alabama House of Representatives Thursday gave final passage to a bill that will require all occupants of a vehicle to wear a seat belt.

The legislation sponsored by Sen. David Burkette, D-Montgomery, and Rep. Chris Sells, R-Greenville, passed the House 76 to 17, and now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey to be signed into law. The bill was named after Roderic Deshaun Scott, the Robert E. Lee High School basketball star from Montgomery who died after a car crash in 2016.

Burkette passed the bill in the Senate, while Sells carried the House companion bill. Rep. Kirk Hatcher, D-Montgomery, joined Sells on the house floor in urging final passage.

“The Roderic Deshaun Scott Seat Belt Safety Act puts a human face on an issue that’s long overdue to be addressed,” Hatcher said. “This is an important step in strengthening the safety culture in Alabama by requiring seat belt use by back seat passengers.”

Alabama becomes the 29th state to require seat belt use by rear seat vehicle occupants.

Rear seat passengers in a vehicle are three times more likely to die in a crash if they are not wearing a seat belt, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.