Opinion Columns & Blogs

Governor right to seek higher seat-belt fine

In addition to inspiring tax-hike proposals from the anti-tax Brownback administration, the state’s fiscal crisis could end up saving lives: The governor signed a 2011 law approving a 75 mph speed limit for some highways that also capped the fine for not wearing a seat belt at $10 statewide. But now his administration supports a Senate bill increasing the penalty to $60. It could generate $1.2 million, with about 5 percent of the funds earmarked for promoting buckling up for children. More important than the money, though: It could put enough teeth in the primary seat-belt law to actually change behavior. That is badly needed in Kansas, where crash deaths have soared 54 percent since 2012 on the seven highways where the speed limit was raised. – Rhonda Holman