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North Dakota House kills bill to tighten seat belt law

March 23, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s House has rebuffed another attempt at changing the state’s seat belt law.

The House voted 49-45 to kill the proposal to allow police to pull over drivers if they see them not wearing seat belts. The fine would be $50.

North Dakota’s current law says drivers and front-seat passengers have to wear seat belts. But a driver can’t be ticketed for it unless he or she is pulled over for another traffic violation first.

Thirty-four states already have a so-called primary enforcement seat belt law.

North Dakota’s current law is a ″secondary enforcement″ provision, meaning that police may not pull over a motorist simply because they see him or her driving without a seat belt. Police first must see the driver committing another violation such as speeding. State law already allows authorities to pull over drivers younger than 18 if they are seen driving unbuckled.

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North Dakota’s present seat belt law was approved by the 1993 Legislature. Advocates of the primary-enforcement measure have been turned back repeatedly in the Legislature.