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Selectmen approve "no tolerance" approach to seat belts

Posted by Sara Brown  July 20, 2010 10:55 AM

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The Board of Selectmen Monday adopted a zero-tolerance approach to those who opt not to wear seat belts, with the new policy aimed at increasing the number of residents who wear them.

Burlington Public Safety officer Bernie Schipelliti said the primary function of a seat belt is to keep someone in the car in the event of a crash.  There are four to five roll-over crashes a day in Massachusetts, he added. 

Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent said failure to wear a seat belt would remain a secondary offense, meaning people will not be pulled over for that reason alone. Yet drivers pulled over for other infractions can be cited—and given a $25 fine—for failing to wear their safety belt.

The selectmen discussed increasing awareness of seat belt use on the town’s school buses.  According to Schipelliti, Burlington is one of few local towns to have lap belts in school buses.  However, he said, using the belts is not enforced or required. 

Chairman Ralph Patuto said the town should do more to make sure children are “snapped in” after they board the school bus.  The board discussed publicizing seat belt use on school buses, including putting information in school welcome packets and discussing the issue in classrooms.

The Board also discussed whether they supported the Burlington Forty-Niners—the local Knights of Columbus—participating in KENO.

While the state ultimately issues licenses for entities to participate in the lottery, Town Administrator Robert Mercier said that, as a courtesy, they ask local licensing authorities if they have any objections.

Some board members did voice concerns, with Daniel DiTucci wondering if allowing the group to have the KENO screens would set a precedent for private clubs getting X.

DiTucci said the organization would be the only establishment that had KENO with a screen, alcohol, and no public access.

With the deadline for letting the state know about concerns this Friday—though Mercier said they might not take heed of the board’s opinion—and the Board undecided, Mercier said he would ask for another extension. 

The Board also voted unanimously in favor of adopting a new Massachusetts law that would allow liquor sales at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings, an hour earlier than the previous law.  Mercier said he had heard from local restaurants and hotels urging Burlington to accept the time change, which was an opt-in provision. . 

 

 

 

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