DEADLY LOOPHOLE: Support grows to make seatbelt bill for minors - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

DEADLY LOOPHOLE: Support grows to make seatbelt bill for minors a primary violation

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ohio -

There's a new law being considered in Ohio that would make it a primary offense for a child to ride in a vehicle without a seat belt.

The law is being considered after 21 News reporter Michelle Nicks found a deadly loophole in Ohio law. Her investigation began after a tragic accident in Columbiana County that killed three people, including 11-year-old Addisyn Benzel.

We followed Tim and Theresa Benzel on their journey to Columbus to change state law.

They traveled to the State Capital on Tuesday to offer testimony on Senate Bill 302. A bill authored by Valley Senator Joe Schiavoni, (D-Boardman), that would make it a primary offense for any child 4 to 15 to be caught not wearing a seat belt.

Theresa Benzel is the mother of Addisyn Benzel, "It's just that one step closer to getting this provision of the law done. We're speaking for Addisyn."

The Benzel's daughter, 11-year-old Addisyn Benzel died in January when the overcrowded Chevy Equinox she was riding in with family friends was hit head-on in Columbiana County. Addisyn was killed after being thrown from the rear cargo area where seat belts were not available.

"So the odds that if Addisyn would have been properly restrained in that vehicle, she would probably still be with us here today and that's what gives us the energy to drive down here, to speak our voice, and hope to get some changes made," Theresa Benzel said.

The Benzels are not alone in their support for the legislation. Akron Children's Hospital, the Mahoning County Sheriff, Ohio Conference of AAA Clubs, Canfield Police and Youngstown Police are among the others showing their support for the bill.

Lieutenant William Ross of the Youngstown Police Department, is also the Commander of the Department's Accident Investigation Unit, "Well it will allow the police to take a more preventative approach to this instead of what we currently have to operate off of which is reactive."

More testimony is expected to be heard next Tuesday.

The following Tuesday the bill is up for a vote in the transportation committee. If it passes, then it's on to the full senate for its approval

For Addisyn's family it's a bill in her memory that could ultimately save the lives of others.

"So this is just her way of helping other children and that's what makes it so important for us," Benzel said.


  • More NewsMore>>

  • East Palestine football players raise awareness about ALS

    East Palestine football players raise awareness about ALS

    One local high school football team took the ALS ice bucket challenge to new heights Thursday night.More >>
    One local high school football team took the ALS ice bucket challenge to new heights Thursday night.More >>
  • A helping hand for local veterans

    A helping hand for local veterans

    Saturday, August 23 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-08-23 16:02:15 GMT
    VIENNA, Ohio- Members of the community are raising money to help meet the needs of wounded soldiers and disabled veterans locally. The first annual Freedom Warrior Golf Outing drew hundreds of people together for the cause Friday.More >>
    VIENNA, Ohio- Members of the community are raising money to help meet the needs of wounded soldiers and disabled veterans locally. The first annual Freedom Warrior Golf Outing drew hundreds of people together for the cause Friday.More >>
  • Youngstown residents gather to stop cycle of violence

    Youngstown residents gather to stop cycle of violence

    Saturday, August 23 2014 11:30 AM EDT2014-08-23 15:30:05 GMT
    Youngstown's latest homicide, the shooting death of 17 year old Shawn Cortez, has residents gathering to take back their city from violence.On Friday members of the Food 4 Your Soul ministries offered up prayers for peace while serving up food. They are reaching out to young people, in an effort to stop the cycle of violence in Youngstown."I don't want our children to be fearful when they go to school. They just need to know that there's good resources.. There's good people who are hear for t...More >>
    Youngstown's latest homicide, the shooting death of 17 year old Shawn Cortez, has residents gathering to take back their city from violence.On Friday members of the Food 4 Your Soul ministries offered up prayers for peace while serving up food. They are reaching out to young people, in an effort to stop the cycle of violence in Youngstown."I don't want our children to be fearful when they go to school. They just need to know that there's good resources.. There's good people who are hear for t...More >>
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Police: Couple used dog to lure 2 Amish girls

    Police: Couple used dog to lure 2 Amish girls

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:04 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:04:19 GMT
    A woman accused along with her boyfriend of abducting and sexually abusing two young Amish sisters is due in court for a preliminary hearing.More >>
    A northern New York couple used a dog to lure two Amish sisters from their family farm stand with a plan to turn them into slaves, an investigator said Thursday.More >>
  • State won't sell naming rights for Ohio Turnpike

    State won't sell naming rights for Ohio Turnpike

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:30:13 GMT
    Ohio will pursue opportunities to collect revenue through sponsorships along the state turnpike but will not sell naming rights for the 241-mile toll road.More >>
    Ohio will pursue opportunities to collect revenue through sponsorships along the state turnpike but will not sell naming rights for the 241-mile toll road.
    More >>
  • Ohio State president meets with band leaders

    Ohio State president meets with band leaders

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:23 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:23:42 GMT
    Courtesy:  NBC NewsCourtesy: NBC News
    Student and staff leaders of the Ohio State marching band have met with the university's president to share concerns over the firing of a popular band directorMore >>
    Student and staff leaders of the Ohio State marching band have met with the university's president to share concerns over the firing of a popular band directorMore >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms