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House committee puts a 'do-not-pass' on primary seat belt enforcement bill

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A North Dakota House committee is recommending a “do-not-pass”  on a bill that makes not buckling up a primary offense.

It’s currently a secondary offense, meaning drivers must be stopped for another reason, and a fine for not wearing your seat belt can be added at that time. A primary offense means an officer can stop you for that reason.

"Every five days in North Dakota, someone is thrown from their vehicle because they weren't wearing a seat belt," Ryan Gellner of the North Dakota Association of Counties told the House Transportation Committee. "That's a big problem -- that's a mom, or a dad, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter -- someone who left in the morning, and were expected to return home, but never did."

A do-pass motion failed on an 8 to 5 vote . Then Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) offered the "do-not pass" motion.

"What it comes down to again, is just that aspect of, should government be imposing on what would otherwise be a personal choice?" Becker said.

The bill – SB 2121 – now goes to the House floor. It earlier passed the Senate 28 to 18.

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