Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 28, 2013

Stricter seat belt law passes W.Va. House

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The House of Delegates wants drivers to be pulled over in West Virginia for not wearing a seat belt.

A 55-44 vote Thursday narrowly passed a bill making that violation a primary offense.

Thirty-one states now treat failure to wear a seat belt as a primary offense that triggers a traffic stop.

Not wearing a seat belt in West Virginia is now secondary offense. That means a driver must be pulled over for some other violation to be cited.

The House Judiciary Committee endorsed the bill earlier this month, but only by 13-11.

Thursday's vote followed an emotional debate. Both sides invoked lost loved ones.

Opponents argued seat belt use is a matter of personal responsibility. Supporters said it would help save lives and avoid family tragedies.

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