Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Seat Belt Exemption Law

Firefighters are pleased the governor listened to their concerns.


Rhode Island responders and police officers driving emergency vehicles will have to keep buckling up.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has vetoed legislation that would have allowed drivers to leave their seat belts dangling.

"We're glad he heard us," said Rick Susi, executive director of the Rhode Isand Association of Fire Chiefs (RIAFC).

Fire and rescue personnel across the state contacted the governor's office when they heard that legislators in both chambers had passed the bill to exempt drivers from buckling up.

"We made our argument based on logic and common sense," he said. "We're to happy he listened."

The RIAFC was caught off guard when the section was tucked into a larger bill about traffic laws.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Ray Hull, who also is a sergeant in the Providence Police Department.

Before the veto, Susi said he didn't expect firefighters would be leaving their belts dangling just because law makers said it was OK.

Susi said the state police, who were pushing for the bill, didn't get what they wanted either because it only exempted drivers not passengers.

"it's really tough to get the governor to veto a bill. We're pleased he did. It says something..."