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Mandatory Seat Belt Law Proposed for All Vehicle Occupants in Virginia

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA -- Mount Vernon area Del. Paul Krizek (D-44th) has introduced a bill to require all occupants of a motor vehicle to utilize safety restraints. Current law requires safety belt use only by occupants under the age of 18, drivers, and front-seat passengers, his office said in a news release Tuesday.

The General Assembly will convene Jan. 11 in Richmond for a short session.

The idea for the bill came from West Potomac High School student Jonathan Tucker, Krizek said. The student proposed the legislation as his 2016 Amundson Institute Scholar project. The bill would make it a secondary offense for any automobile passenger to fail to use a seatbelt. (The Amundson Institute is an annual program that allows local students to visit the General Assembly and observe legislators at work.)

During 2014, 58 percent of back-seat passengers killed were not buckled up, Krizek's office said. In 2008, motor vehicle crashes killed 25,351 occupants, where 55 percent were unrestrained, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Twenty four states and the District of Columbia require seat belt use in all seating positions. Minnesota enacted the requirement in 2009, and New Jersey passed a similar measure in 2010.

Read more about seatbelt safety on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Web site here.

Subtitle: 
Idea for the seat belt bill came from a West Potomac High student, says Del. Paul Krizek, who is introducing the bill.