Wyoming Highway Patrol: Primary Seat Belt Law Would Save Lives
Wyoming is one of only 15 states with a secondary seat belt law, which means law enforcement officers are only allowed to ticket you for a seat belt violation if they've pulled you over for some other reason, such as speeding.
Last year, half of the people who died in car crashes in the state were unbuckled, something Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Col. Shannon Ratliff says is "absolutely unacceptable."
"Without a doubt, had they taken just a few seconds to buckle their safety restraints the outcomes may have been dramatically different," said Ratliff.
Ratliff says seat belt use in Wyoming is lower than that of the surrounding states, and is typically lower than the national average.
"Statistics tell us that when an officer issues a citation for not buckling up, compliance with the seat belt law, or any law, typically rises," said Ratliff. "Perhaps it's time once again to partner with our legislative leaders ... to discuss a primary seat belt law."
The Wyoming House in 2017 killed a bill that would have allowed for primary enforcement of the state's seat belt law.
"I understand that choosing to wear or not wear your seat belt is a choice," said Ratliff. "I'm the last one to want to limit a person's freedom, but isn't the investment worth it? What is a life worth?"