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Improper seat belt use

A Broken Arrow woman plans to fight a traffic ticket. She says she was pulled over and given a ticket for a seatbelt violation.

Here's the rub, she was wearing her seatbelt, but was told she wasn't doing so properly. Now, she's steamed. News on six crime reporter Lori Fullbright examines the case.

Deanna Stephenson says she's a good driver, always keeps her hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel, uses her turn signals, doesn't speed and always wears her seatbelt. That’s why it galls her that this ticket has married her spotless record. A ticket for not wearing her seatbelt properly. “When he stepped up and asked me to sign it, I said you're going to have to explain it to me first and he said you're not wearing your seatbelt properly."

Deanna was belted in, but had her shoulder strap tucked underneath her arm, which she says is more comfortable and she thought followed the law. "I wear it under my arm under my breasts because I have fibroid cysts and it feels like I'm getting a mammogram every time I drive. There's got to be a level of comfort when you drive, what if men had to wear it between their legs."

Lori Fullbright looked up the law and it does say more than just wearing a seatbelt, which you have to have it properly adjusted and fastened. Police say it's more than just what's legal; it's about what's safe.

Tulsa Police say your seatbelt system works with your airbag and if you're not wearing your belt properly, your airbag won't deploy when it needs to which means a face plant into the windshield or steering wheel. Plus, when you hit the brakes and your belt cinches up, your ribs can't take that impact like your shoulder. Tulsa Police Cpl Steve Wood: "The absolute safety is like an aircraft with belts over both shoulders and a lap belt but that's impractical so we do the next best thing in the automotive industry and that's give you over one shoulder that gives you that restraint."

The law does say if you get a letter from your doctor about a medical condition, you don't have to wear your seatbelt at all or across your shoulder. For instance, a man who'd had a tracheotomy got a note from his doctor that said the shoulder strap close to his neck could be dangerous.

Deanna plans to go to court and tell the judge her side of things, but of course if she loses, she says she'll pay the $20 ticket. Deanna mostly wants other people to know that they too could get a ticket if they have their seatbelt on, but not on properly.
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