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seat belts

The state Senate has voted to make North Dakota’s seat belt law “primary enforcement.”

That means a driver can be stopped for not buckling up.

It’s currently “secondary enforcement,” in that you have to be stopped for another violation, and then can have another $25 tacked on for not buckling up.

Primary seat belt law proposed

Jan 13, 2021

A Legislative committee will be hearing a bill to make not wearing your seat belt a primary offense.

Right now, it’s a secondary offense – meaning you have to be pulled over for another reason.

The Legislature has in the past rejected several attempts to make it a primary offense.

The measure raises the fine from $20 to $50. It will also require all passengers to be buckled up. The law now requires front seat passengers to wear the belts.

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.'"

The state Senate has reconsidered its action – and passed the bill to make not wearing your seat belt a primary offense.

That means you can be stopped for not being buckled up.  Right now, the law is “secondary” – meaning you have to be stopped for something else before you can be ticketed. The fine would be $50.

The vote was 24 to 23.

Sen. Scott Meyer (R-Grand Forks) was absent for Monday’s vote, meaning the bill tied on a 23-23 vote. Meyer is a co-sponsor. And he made the motion for reconsideration. It allowed him to make his argument for the bill.

'Primary enforcement' seat belt bill filed

Jan 2, 2019

There will be another effort in the Legislature to make North Dakota’s seat belt law a primary offense.

Right now, it’s a secondary offense – meaning you have to be pulled over for something else before you can be ticketed for not buckling up.

Sen. Curt Kreun is the primary sponsor of a bill to make it a primary offense.

"Some people who are injured run out of their insurance funds," Kreun said. "With rehab and disability, we're using up our Medicare and other government funds to rehabilitate those who were injured."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The effort is called “Vision Zero.”

The goal: Zero highway fatalities in North Dakota.

Gov. Doug Burgum, along with the directors of the state Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol  and the Health Department, unveiled the program at a State Capitol event Thursday.

"The government is going to do what it can across our cabinet agencies, but this has to be a shift in culture," Burgum told reporters. "And it has to be personal resposibility."

Burgum says Vision Zero means zero fatalities.