CHAPTER 34

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 80

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1, SENATE AMENDMENT NOS. 4, 5 AND 6

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO OCCUPANT PROTECTION SYSTEMS, USAGE, STANDARDS AND CONDITION THEREOF.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY Of THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Part III, Title 21 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Chapter, designated as Chapter 48, which new Chapter shall read as follows:

"CHAPTER 48. OCCUPANT PROTECTION SYSTEM SAFETY ACT. §4801. Short Title.

This Act shall- be known and may be cited as the Seat Belt Safety Act.

§4802. Driver Requirements: Front Seat Passenger; Exceptions; Sales

Requirements; Working Condition of System:

a.(1) The driver of a motor vehicle operated on a street or highway in this State shall wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt which meets the applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.

(2) The driver of a motor vehicle shall secure or cause to be secured in a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt system, as defined by the applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, any passenger in the front seat.

b. The term 'motor vehicle', as used in this Chapter is defined in §101(20) of this Title with the exception of motorcycles.

c. The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

(1) Any person in a motor vehicle who possesses a written
verification from a licensed physician or a licensed physical therapist that such person is unable to wear an occupant protection system for physical or medical reasons;

(1) A motor vehicle which is not required to be equipped with an occupant protection system under federal law; or,

(1) A motor vehicle operated by a letter carrier of the United States Postal Service while performing the duties of a letter carrier.

d. A motor vehicle shall not be stopped by a police officer for failing to comply with this section.

e. No person shall install, distribute, have for sale, offer for sale or sell any occupant protection system for use in a motor vehicle unless it meets current minimum standards and specifications under federal law.

f. Every owner of a motor vehicle shall maintain all occupant

protection systems and assemblies and mechanisms required by this Section in proper working condition and in a manner that will enable occupants to use them.

g. Failure to comply with this Section shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance for sentencing purposes for persons convicted of violations of other provisions of Title 21 of the Delaware Code. Any person who is found to have violated this Section in connection with the prosecution of a violation of any other provision of Title 21 of the Delaware Code shall in addition to any fine and at the same time as, any fine is assessed to the defendant, be levied for credit to the Victim Compensation Fund an additional penalty assessment of 40% not to exceed $20.00 of every fine, penalty or forfeiture imposed or collected by the court for the Title 21, Del. C. offense. Where there are multiple Title 21, Del. C. offenses involved, the penalty assessment pursuant to this Section shall be based upon a total fine for all offenses but not to exceed a total additional penalty assessment of $20.00. When a fine, penalty or forfeiture is suspended in whole or in part the additional penalty assessment shall not be suspended.

The assessment imposed herein shall be in addition to the penalty assessment imposed by 11 Del. C. §9012(a).

h. No motor vehicle points shall be assessed against any person for failing to comply with subsection (a) of this Section and there shall be no entry made on the person's driving record for failing to comply with subsection (a) of this Section.

a. Failure to wear an occupant protection system shall not be considered as evidence of either comparative or contributory negligence in any civil suit or insurance claim adjudication arising out of any motor vehicle accident, nor shall failure to wear an occupant protection system be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action or insurance claim adjudication."

Section 2. Amend §4199C, Subchapter XIII, Chapter 41, Title 21 of the

Delaware Code by designating §4199C in its entirety as §4803 and adding said section to Chapter 48, Title 21, Delaware Code.

Section 3. The Division of Motor Vehicles shall develop a plan for the spot checking in inspection lanes of motor vehicles covered under Section 1 of this Act to determine the operability of the occupant protection systems within said motor vehicles. Said plan shall be submitted by the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety on or before January 1, 1992 to the General Assembly.

Section 4. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 1992.

Approved May 22, 1991.