Cheyenne Police Department
Cheyenne Police Department
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The summer travel season is here again, and with Memorial Day, the annual "Click it or Ticket" campaign is underway, nationally and in Wyoming.

As the name implies, the idea is to get motorists and their passengers to wear seat belts or face traffic tickets.

But in Wyoming, you can't actually be stopped for not wearing a seat belt. You can be ticketed for it, but only if the vehicle is stopped for another offense first, such as speeding.

That's because not using a seat belt in Wyoming is categorized as a secondary offense.

A 2019 Wyoming Department of Transportation study found that almost a quarter of those on highways in the state were not wearing seatbelts. The percentages were especially low for men, with only 72 percent belted in. A more recent study by stacker.com, published in February of this year, found Wyoming had the third-lowest rate of seat belt usage in the country.

A federal study found that across the country in 2020, just over half of those killed in car crashes were not belted in.

In Wyoming, several bills have been put forward in the legislature over the years to make not wearing seat belts a primary offense, so that police could stop cars for that alone.

None has so far become law, however, in a state where many residents feel adults should make their own decisions and that government should stay out of people's lives as much as possible.

There is also a sentiment among some that giving the police another reason to stop otherwise law-abiding motorists who after all, are risking only their own lives rather than endangering others, is a bad idea.

So what do you think?

Is it time to make seat belt usage a primary offense to get people to buckle up? Or would such a law be just another example of "nanny state'' interference in what should be a personal decision?

Take our poll and give us your opinion!

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