The North Dakota House considered Senate Bill 2060 this afternoon, which would change North Dakota’s seat belt law for adults from secondary enforcement to primary enforcement. This means that law enforcement would be able to pull you over if they believe you weren’t wearing your safety belt— it’d literally be a situation of their word versus yours.
SB 2060 originally failed to pass the Senate with a tie vote of 23-23 on January 21st. Interestingly enough, this was due to the fact that one of its co-sponsors, Senator Scott Meyer (R – District 18), was absent during the vote. Because of this, the bill was reconsidered the following day and passed on a 24-23 vote. The House Transportation Committee gave the bill a 9-4 Do Not Pass recommendation.
As SB 2060 was debated this afternoon, many supporters of the Nanny State rose to defend the bill. The arguments were typical… the State must protect us from ourselves. What’s seemingly never discussed is if a law such as this is worthy of passage, in the name of “saving lives”, then where do we draw the line? There are a litany of examples in relation to dangerous activities North Dakotan’s regularly participate in that aren’t illegal. Should we outlaw those as well?
Can you believe that out of the 50 states, only one has no seat-belt laws for those 18-years-old and older? That lone holdout is New Hampshire— kudo’s to them. It’s fitting for a state with the motto, “Live Free or Die!”
According to some of the arguments espoused as reason for allowing government to mandate whether we buckle up or not, one would be led to believe that New Hampshire is among the worst in the nation in motor vehicle death rates. Especially when we consider they’re ranked last for seat-belt usage (70.2%). Only it’s not true. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, the Live Free or Die state is 42nd in “Deaths Due to Motor Vehicle Accidents per 100,000 Population”. Which, by the way, is right between Hawaii and Washington, who have the highest rates of seat-belt usage in the country.
Where does North Dakota rank? Not good— we come in at 13th for Deaths Due to Motor Vehicle Accidents.
Thankfully, the majority of the House stood firm and rejected the bill on a 38-54 vote.
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