ANNAPOLIS -- All passengers in a motor vehicle would be required to wear a seat belt under a bill given preliminary approval by Maryland's state Senate on Wednesday.
The bill repeals an exemption that allowed minors under 16 years of age to be belted in with another child. It would prohibit minors under age 16 from sitting in the back seat of a vehicle if they're not wearing a seat belt -- something that's allowed under current law.
The measure would also double the current fine of up to $25 per violation to up to $50 per infraction.
Driving or riding in a vehicle without a seat belt is a primary offense in Maryland, meaning police can pull over a motorist if they see him or her or a passenger not wearing a seat belt.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's and Calvert counties, joked that times had changed since he was a child.
"I was the oldest of 10. They just threw us all in the back of a station wagon with pillows. If not that, then a pickup truck," he said. "We're still here."