CONCORD — New Hampshire will remain the only state in the nation without a mandatory seat belt law for adults after the House of Representatives rejected legislation Thursday.
The House voted 206-162 against the measure (HB 222) that would have made the refusal to wear a seat belt a secondary offense, meaning local or state police could not pull someone over for that reason alone.
The bill would have carried a fine of $50 and $25 for each adult passenger not wearing a seat belt in the car or truck.
State Rep. Daniel Veilleux, D-Amherst, said New Hampshire at 75% has the lowest seat belt compliance rate in the nation.
Last year, two-thirds of those killed in crashes in New Hampshire were not wearing restraints while the national average for unbelted highway fatality victims was about 50%, Veilleux said.
“Marketing and education alone can’t convince people to wear seat belts,” Veilleux said.
Rep. Ted Gorski, R-Bedford, said the bill violates the state Constitution because it would amount to “government intrusion.”
“We are the Live Free or Die state; let’s let our citizens make that decision on whether or not to wear a seat belt,” Gorski said.
Opponents noted state law already requires those either driving or riding as passengers under 18 years old to wear restraints.