INDIANAPOLIS (June 9, 2005) – An official of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) today commended South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on his decision to let a seatbelt bill become law late Wednesday, without his signature.
“While I can appreciate the personal struggle that Gov. Sanford must have gone through in reaching his decision, letting Senate Bill 1 become law is probably the best political decision he could have made given all the circumstances that surrounded this legislation,” said NAMIC State Affairs Manager David Reddick.
For weeks, Gov. Sanford had hinted publicly that he might veto Senate Bill 1 because he thought the bill did not go far enough in getting drivers and passengers to buckle up.
While the governor has said government always should be careful when considering whether to intrude on personal freedoms, he supported language to have seatbelt usage be admissible as evidence in lawsuits and to have seatbelt violations become part of an individual’s driving and insurance records.
As enacted, Senate Bill 1 imposes only a flat $25 fine for any driver or passenger found in violation of the statute, but the current law continues to prohibit law enforcement officials from using a “Click It or Ticket” campaign to detect and issue a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.
“It obviously remains to be seen whether Senate Bill 1 will have any real impact on increasing seatbelt usage or reducing automobile fatalities, but certainly Gov. Sanford deserves credit for the noble and courageous position he took on this issue,” Reddick said.
In spite of the seatbelt controversy, Reddick noted that lawmakers enacted two important tort-reform related pieces of legislation earlier in the session, which adjourned June 2.
“House Bill 3008 provides important reforms on issues like venue changes, frivolous lawsuits and joint and several liability, while Senate Bill 83 caps non-economic damages at $350, 000 on medical malpractice lawsuits,” Reddick said.
NAMIC has compiled a preliminary list of enacted South Carolina legislation. The list can be found at NAMIC Online.
Posted: Thursday, June 09, 2005 12:00:00 AM. Modified: Friday, June 10, 2005 9:46:53 AM.
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