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State seat belt bill squeaks by House committee

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A West Virginia bill that would make failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense has passed the House Judiciary Committee on a 13-11 vote.

The bill passed Tuesday would mean a driver could be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. Currently, a driver can only be cited for not wearing a seat belt if they're pulled over for another violation first. The bill sets a $25 penalty.

Law enforcement officials from around the state have cited the importance of the bill. It's estimated to boost seat belt use by up to 7 percent. West Virginia is one of 16 states where seat belt violations are not a primary offense.

Some delegates objected to the bill, citing it as an issue of personal responsibility.




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