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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Seat-belt regulations in spotlight

by Frank Fellone | May 22, 2021 at 3:25 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: Are passengers in the rear seats required to use seat belts? -- Jett

Dear Jett: Arkansas Code Annotated 27-37-702 says that "Each driver and front seat passenger in any motor vehicle operated on a street or highway in this state shall wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt properly secured to the vehicle."

As a for instance, properly adjusted means the shoulder belt goes around the, duh, shoulder, and not tucked under the armpit. Yes, some people do that. Apparently, they are worried about wrinkling their taffeta.

(Quoting Young Frankenstein: "Taffeta, darling, it wrinkles so easily!")

What about children? Thanks for asking this important question.

Arkansas Code Annotated 27-34-104 says any passenger younger than 6, or lighter than 60 pounds, has to be safely secured in a child passenger seat. Any young person, up to age 15, has to be properly restrained, presumably with the vehicle's seat belts.

This question gives us an opportunity to tell readers that law enforcement is fixing to get after its annual Click It or Ticket operation.

Starting Monday and running through June 6, there will be a heightened attention to making sure drivers have their seat belts properly fastened. We're talking state troopers, sheriff's deputies and local police officers.

Dear Mahatma: The Holmes group was the Baker Street Irregulars, led (I think) by Jason Rouby and George Wildgen. I once saw George in a cape and deerstalker hat. Woof. -- Old Newspaperman

Dear Newspaper: The matter in question was a vanity plate in last week's column -- 221BBKR. We asked if anyone remembered a local Sherlock Holmes fan club. Thanks for this memory.

Jason Rouby was director of the regional transportation planning agency -- Metroplan -- for 21 years until his retirement in 1988, an authority on Sherlock Holmes and a member of the Baker Street Irregulars. His work at Metroplan makes this a traffic question, come to think of it. Rouby, a U.S. Army veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, passed away in 2011.

Wildgen died in 2012. He was known as a "bon vivant and raconteur extraordinaire." He, too, was an Old Newspaperman.

We are slightly late in reporting that the federal gummint has extended the REAL ID deadline from Oct. 1 of this year to May 3, 2023. On that latter date, a REAL ID, effectively an enhanced driver's license, will be needed to board a flight or enter a federal building.

Roughly 400,000 Arkansans have a REAL ID, leaving about 1.8 million folks with a regular license or ID. For a mere $10, a REAL ID can be had at revenue offices around the state if the expiration date on an existing license or ID is transferred to the REAL ID. The cost is $40 to initiate a new eight-year expiration for the REAL ID.

For more scintillating information, go to

Vanity plate: SKY DVR.


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