Latest Charleston Nanny State Crackdown: Passengers, Buckle Up

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City of Charleston police are pulling drivers over when passengers are not buckled up — the latest effort under Chief Greg Mullen to sweat the small stuff.

Last year, Mullen cracked down on open container violations at downtown art walks and other functions. His attention has widened in the new year to securing the safety of your co-pilot.

Our routine review of the city's police report found at least three cases in the last two weeks in which officers initiated a traffic stop because a passenger in the car was not wearing the safety belt.

It's unclear if the city is issuing tickets or warnings for these seat belt infractions. The cases we read of in the police reports led to other, more serious charges, so there is a recognizable value in the law's enforcement. But some people would consider seat belt laws to be largely self-policed, like violations against jaywalking or smoking in businesses.

Much like the open container crackdown, the police officers are just doing their job, so it's hard to argue your way out of these tickets. The best bet is to buckle up your passengers.

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