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House fails to tighten North Dakota seat belt laws

Seat Belt
Seat Belt(AP)
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - On Tuesday, the house failed to pass a bill that would have strengthen seat belts laws in North Dakota.

The bill would have allowed officers to stop a driver if they or anyone in the car was not wearing a seat belt, regardless of age or seat location.

Under North Dakota law, anyone under the age of 18 is required to wear a seat belt.

Officers can pull over a vehicle if a driver under 18 is not wearing a seat belt.

“It’s hard to determine their age,” said North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Wade Kadrmas.

However, law enforcement can only issue a seat belt citation for anyone over the age of 18, if they are stopped for another violation.

Drivers not under the age of 18 cannot be stopped simply for not wearing a seat belt.

“The driver would have to be stopped for something else, whether it was an equipment violation, or they were stopped for speeding, not stopping at a stop sign. There has to be some other violation,” said Kadrmas.

Currently, the fine is $25 for anyone under 18, and $20 for adults.

According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the state.

Troopers say the bill could have helped prevent the death of drivers who were unbelted during a crash.

“Wearing your seatbelt helps protect against all the other bad drivers out there,” said Kadrmas.

This year, there have been 21 vehicle fatalities on North Dakota roadways.

North Dakota Highway Patrol say more people die in motor vehicle crashes in the state compared to other factors such as drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding.

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