CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginians better make sure to buckle up.
The state Senate passed legislation Wednesday that makes failure to wear a seat belt a primary traffic offense.
State senators voted 24-10 to approve the bill (HB2108) Wednesday. The House approved the measure March 28. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin plans to sign the bill into law.
"This is the most effective thing West Virginia could do to reduce highway deaths," said Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association. "We know from other states that with this law, belt use will go up and lives will be saved."
West Virginia will become the 35th state with a primary offense seat-belt law.
"This brings us in line with the other states," said state Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha.
The stricter seat-belt law will carry a $25 fine, but no additional court costs. Violators also won't receive points on their driver's record.
In 1993, the Legislature passed a secondary offense seat-belt law. The law made it a traffic violation to not wear a seat belt, but motorists could only be cited after being stopped by police for other traffic offenses.
Under the bill passed Wednesday, police could pull over motorists for a seat-belt violation alone.