The Iowa House has voted to give a pass to teen drivers who can’t convince other teens in the vehicle to buckle-up. Representative Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines says under the current law, the teenage driver is the one who’s ticketed if someone else who’s riding in the car isn’t wearing their seat belt.
“One of the things that we don’t want to do is put an extra burden on young people, you know, especially those who are trying to do right,” Abdul-Samad says. “It’s definitely hard, especially under peer pressure when you’re just learning to drive and you get someone who’s a little bit older than you in the back seat and you try to turn around to them and say, ‘Please, buckle your seat belt.”…And they’re looking at you like, ‘You can’t tell me what to do, you know. I’m the senior here.'”
Representative David Tjepkes of Gowrie, a retired state trooper, supported the move to help teenagers who are driving with an “intermediate” license. “If the person in violation of not wearing the seat belt if 14 years old or older, that individual would receive the citation rather than the driver,” Tjepkes explained during House debate.
A teenage passenger caught without wearing a seat belt would not be fined if they have a disability which prevents them from buckling up. The proposal was attached to a larger bill outlining state transportation spending. That bill, including this seat belt proposal, now goes to the Iowa Senate for consideration.