Is Seat Belt-Sharing Idaho’s Deadliest New Trend?
Breakfast and Banter
As I sat there at the Chef's Hut, sipping my coffee, waiting on my French toast with extra powdered sugar and a side of crispy bacon, a group of high schoolers two tables over stole my attention. But it wasn't my eye they caught, it was my ear.
The six teens looked to be about 15 or 16 years old. Each of them were well-dressed, well-mannered, and well-spoken. All in all, they were the kind of teens any parent would be proud to call their own. Perhaps that's why I was astonished at what I overheard them saying.
When Sharing Isn't Caring
While the breakfast club was divvying up the bill, the teens started razzing one another over who was riding where. I was confused at first. If there were two cars and six teens, a three-and-three split was obvious. Right? But there weren't two cars. They drove together in one car.
The kids were half-joking/half-arguing over which two friends had to share a seat belt. Jesse and Carter shared it on the ride to the diner. This time the group decided it was Kenna and Micah's turn to share a seat belt.
My mind snapped into mom-mode. In an instant, dozens of horrific scenarios flooded my brain. Just as I was ready to voice my unsolicited opinion, Kenna told the group it was no big deal. She was used to sharing a seat belt with her sister in her mom's car. Then they walked out.
Road Rules 101
Okay, class. In case you missed it in Driver's Ed, it's illegal and insanely dangerous for two people to share a seat belt. It's illegal for two kids to share a seat belt. It's illegal for two adults to share a seat belt.
No matter how you buckle it, it's illegal for two people to share a seat belt in Idaho. And unless I'm wildly mistaken, I'm quite certain it's illegal for any two Americans in any given state to share a seat belt.
Need more clarity? Check out the Idaho Transportation Department's seat belt laws below.
Idaho’s Seat Belt Law: Idaho Code 49-673
Idaho law requires everyone in a vehicle to wear safety restraints. Other provisions under the law include:
- Adult violators, 18 and older, are subject to a $10 citation.
- An adult driver is ticketed for passengers younger than 18 who are not properly restrained.
- If the driver is younger than 18 and the driver or any occupant younger than 18 fails to wear a seat belt, court costs are added to the fine.
- A law enforcement officer can issue a citation solely for a safety restraint violation, but there must be another violation leading to the traffic stop.