KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A product designed to silence the beeps in a car when someone isn’t wearing their seat belt could create more problems than it solves.
The product is made to mimic the business end of your seat belt. Riders simply insert the device into the buckle, and it tricks your vehicle into thinking the full seat belt is actually inserted.
The advertised purpose is so that the seat belt sensor doesn't beep incessantly when you put a heavy item, or even a pet, into the front passenger seat of the vehicle.
But it's not hard to see how it might be abused, by someone looking to avoid the seat belt altogether.
"I would not recommend using this, even for the reason it's marketed," Kansas HIghway Patrol Trooper Candice Breshears said.
The product has a warning on both sides that says, "Do not use this to plug in seat when passenger is in the seat." There are several different versions, but we purchased a set of two on Amazon for $6.99.
"If there's something in your passenger seat, and it's setting off that seat belt indicator, go ahead and just buckle that stuff in," Breshears said. "That stuff can go flying too, and become a projectile in your car, that could potentially hurt you, or other loved ones in the car."
We contacted the makers of the product, but did not receive a response.
Breshears says troopers see other ways people try to avoid wearing a seat belt, like clicking in, but then sitting on the belt.
In 2017, of the 359 people killed in Kansas crashes, more than half of them were not wearing a seat belt. Of the more than 15,000 people injured that year, almost 90 percent were wearing one.
This week, Kansas and Missouri kicked off their annual "Click It or Ticket" campaigns, where state troopers will be looking extra close to see that you're buckled up.
"It's something that you get pretty good at, and good at spotting," Breshears said. "We can see you not wearing your seat belts out there."
Kansas state law still requires you to wear a seat belt, no matter where you're sitting. If you're stopped without one, it's a $30 fine.