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Pee Dee lawmaker says it's time to revisit state seat belt law

The law says everyone inside a car on must wear a seat belt, but it also says if all the available belts are being used it's not against the law for other passengers to not be buckled.

ABC 15 is taking a closer look at the state’s seat belt law that may mean not everyone in the car has to be wearing their seat belt.

The law says everyone inside a car must wear a seat belt, but it also says if all the available belts are being used it's not against the law for other passengers to not be buckled.

First responders are usually the first ones to arrive on the scene of crashes and see first hand the injuries that come with not wearing seat belts, like people being ejected.

Darlington City Fire Chief Patrick Cavanaugh said he thinks everyone should buckle up and he doesn't know why people wouldn't want to.

"We see people injured and thrown around in a vehicle that could have been avoided had they had their seat belt on," Cavanaugh said.

Corporal Sonny Collins with Highway Patrol said this past weekend 10 people were killed on South Carolina roads and eight were not wearing their seat belts.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half and seat belts saved almost 14,000 lives in 2015.

Kimberly Nelson with the Darlington Police Department says while she doesn't think the law offers a loophole, she encourages everyone to buckle.

"I can speak for myself in law enforcement I wish that everybody would wear their seat belt," Nelson said.

Representative Terry Alexander said if there’s more people than seat belts in the car then the car is overcrowded.

He added the state fine of $25 might be too low.

Representative Alexander said if the state is discussing seat belts in school busses it’s time to adjust the vehicle seat belt law.

"I think we need to take another look at that law that we have in place and determine what’s best for the citizen. If the seat belts are taken then there’s too many people in the car from a safety perspective," Alexander said.

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