Weather Forecast


Chiropractors and Christian Science leaders can't grant seat belt exceptions

Chiropractors and Christian Science leaders can no longer grant exceptions to the state's mandatory seat belt law.

The state Department of Transportation has imposed an emergency rule that only lets doctors grant exceptions to the buckle-up law for their patients.

It's all part of the new seat-belt crackdown that Gov. Jim Doyle is signing into law today as part of the next state budget.

It lets police stop motorists just for not wearing their seat belts, where until now, they had to find another violation.

The change will give Wisconsin at least $15 million more in federal highway funds.

Department of Transportation lawyer John Sobotik says his agency is still checking federal officials to see if chiropractors can be allowed to grant exceptions.

Officials say Minnesota and Illinois only let doctors approve exceptions, while in neighboring Iowa, both doctors and chiropractors have the authority.

The Christian Science leaders say they will not challenge the state's decision to drop them from the exemptions.

Joe Farkas of the First Church of Christ Scientist said he wasn't sure why his group was given the exception in the first place.

Christian Science practitioners often use prayer to treat members' illnesses.

Meanwhile, the state is drafting a new permanent rule which is similar to the temporary one. A hearing on that is set for Sept. 8.