Although laws have not yet been enacted, Arizona state senators' recent votes could allow for 80-mph speeds on stretches of rural highway and prevent police officers from stopping motorists for not wearing seat belts.

Senators voted 18-12 to allow the Arizona Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit to 80 mph from the current 75 mph speed limit in certain areas. They also rejected a bill that would allow law enforcement to stop drivers solely for not wearing safety belts. Officers can ticket for not wearing them, but only if motorists are stopped for another violation.

"I'm perplexed at the Legislature. They are essentially saying 'no' to stronger seat belt laws and saying 'yes' to driving faster," says Michael Frias, deputy director of the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

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