Seat belt bill killed in the House

Mar 8, 2019

The House has killed the bill that would make not buckling up a primary offense.

Right now, it’s a secondary offense – in that you have to be pulled over for another offense before you could be cited for not wearing your seat belt.

Opponents say North Dakota already has a high rate of buckling up – and they argued it’s a matter of personal responsibility.  

"At its core, the assertion is, we are the property of the state," said Rep. Daniel Johnston (R-Kathryn). "It's as if we are to walk around with a government sign on our back that declares, 'Do Not Mutilate.'"

Johnston echoed what other opponents said.

“This is a personal accountability issue," Johnston said. "And it's also an education issue.”

Supporters argued the bill is a matter of safety – and injury prevention.

“It does affect other people in other cars," said Rep. Mark Owens (R-Grand Forks). "This is a pro-active approach to injury prevention.”             

The bill failed on a 54 to 38 vote.

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