The North Dakota Senate has rejected a bill that would
permit police to pull over drivers who are not wearing their seat belts.
Senators voted 36-8 on Feb. 14 to defeat the effort,
concluding it would do little aside from making it easier for police to pull
“People ought to wear their seat belts,” said Sen. Tom
Trenbeath, R-Cavalier. “But primary seat-belt laws are not effective.”
can issue seat-belt citations to drivers in North Dakota only after stopping a
vehicle for another traffic violation.
The bill, sponsored
by Sen. Duaine Espegard, R-Grand Forks, would change that to allow law
enforcement officers to stop drivers for not buckling up.
North Dakota is one
of 28 states without a primary seat-belt law. Twenty-one states allow
police to pull over drivers solely for not wearing their seat belts. New
Hampshire is the only state without a mandatory seat-belt law.
Trenbeath told The Associated Press the present law
is not being enforced as vigorously as possible. The Highway Patrol, when it
operates sobriety checkpoints, does not ticket motorists who are not wearing
belts, he said.
“In the end, all a primary seat-belt law would do, would be
to allow law enforcement another reason to stop your vehicle,” Trenbeath said.