Law Enforcement

Nampa Seat Belt Campaign Skirts Idaho Law

SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES. THE GUARDIAN ADVOCATES THE USE OF SEAT BELTS. We also advocate the rule of law and the constitution.

According to a story in the DAILY PAPER, Nampa coppers are joining a national publicity campaign called “Click It.” They say people driving at night are less likely to fasten seatbelts, thus extra shifts and manpower will be dedicated to unfastened scofflaws.

Since seat belt violations in Idaho are a “secondary offense,” that means coppers will be looking for excuses to stop people…like taillights, no turn signal, minor speeding, etc. This type of patrol has the P.R. potential of a major backfire. Sounds like it is probably a grant or something that has to be spent soon–otherwise they would go after the drive by shooters, and drunks, protect vulnerable convenience stores.

Here is the Idaho Code on safety restraints:

49-673.Safety restraint use.
(1) Except as provided in section 49-672, Idaho Code, and subsection (2) of this section, each occupant of a motor vehicle which has a gross vehicle weight of not more than eight thousand (8,000) pounds, and which was manufactured with safety restraints in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 208, shall have a safety restraint properly fastened about his body at all times when the vehicle is in motion.
(5) Enforcement of this section by law enforcement officers may be accomplished only as a secondary action when the operator of the motor vehicle has been detained for a suspected violation of another law.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. It seems that “to protect and serve” has been replaced by “to harass and intimidate”

  2. pollyjunkie
    May 31, 2011, 9:07 am

    “minor” speeding? What the heck is that? Often, in addition to seat belt skofflaws, drunk drivers are caught when they’re stopped for taillights, no turn signal, driving too slow, one headlight, etc. Is that a bad thing? Is that harrassment?

    EDITOR NOTE–Their avowed mission is NOT going after DUIs. They claim to be after seatbelt violations. The message in the post is: no one is offended at chasing DUI suspects, but looking for excuses to stop and cite seat belts doesn’t sell well.

  3. This is an arbitrary revenuing program that clearly violates motorists’ rights not to be bothered by police unless they have a reasonable, articulable suspicion of a primary offense, no matter how they twist it in press releases.

    How it works: police stop a motorist for a minor infraction, real or imagined, and tell the driver they’re getting off the hook on that infraction, but will be getting a “no seat belt” ticket instead. Problem is, if a motorist fights the ticket, the prosecutor will amend the charge and add on the original real-or-imagined infraction.

    I got stung on this one last year in Boise. I followed another motorist in making a right hand turn from one multi-lane street to another, where we both didn’t turn into the rightmost lane. I was stopped but the motorist ahead of me was not because, the officer explained, she was wearing her seat belt where I was not.

    Although I must admit it was a righteous stop – I had committed an infraction by not turning into the rightmost lane – being selectively stopped for a secondary offense, which cannot be the basis for a traffic stop, stuck in my craw. I chose to just pay the $10 ticket because it wasn’t worth the time to fight it and I didn’t want the improper right turn charge added on top, but the whole thing still doesn’t pass the smell test, IMO.

  4. Why not pull over every out taillight and no turn signals all through the year. They would probably find more DUI’s and seatbelt violations without running any special campaign.

  5. Until the police crack down on the signal violations in Boise, no other effort can be perceived as justified!

  6. The problem in Nampa is that so many of those cars stopped for minor issues have real crooks inside. It would be nice if a seatbelt was the only additional problem. And what do they do with illegals?

  7. This has nothing to do with public saftey. You can educate drivers on the dangers without ticketing. no this is a fundraiser.

  8. Sorry, but I disagree with a number of the posts. First of all, it is a proven fact that seat belts save lives. If Idaho HAD made not wearing seat belts a primary offense, we would be getting millions of dollars in Federal funding – about $3.4M was the figure I last heard. That might help Idaho. Because a couple of very powerful Idaho legislators are against it, we forfeit that money. Add to that the fact that a single fatality costs about $1M (in round numbers) and Idaho has how many single car rollovers where unbelted drivers are ejected and die. Finally, how about the ejected drivers/passengers that are not killed, but merely injured – another staggering costs in insurance bills that we all end up helping to pay for – or in the case of the un-insured that the hospital has to treat and write off the cost. No, I believe that seats belts have a significant positive value. And as to whether the Legislature makes the fine $10 or $150, having an officer stop and ticket (or warn) most normal drivers, its a great lesson that will be remembered for a while. And finally, on the plus side, maybe they’ll find a trunk full of dope, a criminal with a warrant out on them, or maybe an impaired driver. Sorry, but I believe that this is all about public safety.

  9. In response to Ronnie:

    I understand what you’re saying, however, most people don’t really care unless it genuinely affects them on a personal level. In this case educating means hitting them in the pocketbook. Verbal warnings do not work on most people. To be honest, in my experience the worst part about getting a ticket was the fine. I never gave a second thought to the fact that I was breaking the law or doing something unsafe. Is that a good thing? No. People should be able to see the big picture, but most can not. Spend $150 on a speeding ticket and you will probably adjust your behavior. Get a verbal warning and you’ll probably blow the officer off and continue your potentially dangerous behavior because it didn’t really affect you except cause you the minor inconvenience of being pulled over for a few minutes.

    In response to Dan:

    Can you really blame the officer? At least he was honest and up front with you why he chose you over the other car. There’s one of him and two violators. Why not pick the driver not wearing his seatbelt if they both are committing the same offense? He just as easily could have given you the ticket for the moving violation too, but he didn’t.

    A $10 seatbelt ticket isn’t much compared to many other states. Something else to consider: half of the $10 goes to the Idaho catastrophic healthcare cost fund. Think of it as helping someone out who can’t afford required medical care. Some of those people may very well be accident victims who weren’t wearing their seatbelts. How ironic would that be?

  10. I have no problem with law enforcement stopping someone for not wearing a seatbelt. Where I get off the band wagon is when the copper trumps up some violation to write you for no seatbelt. I just want them to have the “stones” to stop and cite instead of dreaming something up to get one pulled over!

  11. The reason the seatbelt law is not a primary offense is so farmers can carry laborers in the back of a pickup truck as long as all the seat belts are used in the cab. If the truck only has one seat belt for the driver, everyone can ride in the box.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: