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Young drivers who don’t buckle up could be pulled over, cited under proposed new law

Idaho still has no “primary” seat belt law, allowing police to pull over a driver just for a seat belt violation – but Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, a retired state trooper, wants to enact one for drivers age 14-18. “We’re losing too many of our youth,” Wills declared. “Once they become drivers and get into the vehicles, they get around their peer groups and I think they get careless and imprudent.”

Under his bill, officers could pull over young drivers and cite them for seat belt violations even if they didn’t have another, primary offense, such as speeding; a primary offense still would be required to cite those over age 18 for not wearing seat belts. Wills said he included 18-year-olds “simply because … there’s so many of ‘em that are still in high school, and they are the ones that become the leaders, because the other kids look up to them as mentors.” Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have primary seatbelt laws for front-seat occupants.

The House Transportation Committee voted this afternoon to introduce Wills’ legislation, clearing the way for a full committee hearing on the measure. Said Wills, “I just think we need to do everything we can to protect that age group. … We’re losing too many of our youth, that’s the bottom line, that we would save if they only buckled up.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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