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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jandrew observed Lance Ladell Coers driving without a seat belt. Jandrew pulled Coers over, noticed signs of intoxication and had Coers perform field sobriety tests, which he failed. Coers refused to give a breath sample, so Coers’ driver’s license was suspended. Coers requested an administrative hearing. As Jandrew did not appear at the hearing, TDPS used Jandrew’s report to establish that the officer had reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop or arrest Coers. Coers objected to the portion of the report where Jandrew said she based her stop on Coers’ failure to wear a seat belt. Coers argued that Transportation Code 545.413(g) prohibits the admission of safety belt use in civil proceedings. The administrative law judge overruled Coers’ objections and sustained the driver’s license suspension. On appeal to a county court-at-law, the court reversed the ALJ’s ruling and ordered TDPS to rescind its suspension of Coers’ driver’s license. TDPS appeals. HOLDING:Reversed; ALJ ruling reinstated. The court relies on Bridgestone/Firestone v. Glyn-Jones, 878 S.W.2d 132 (Tex. 1994), in which the Supreme Court addressed the legislative intent behind the language that is now in 545.413(g). The Glyn-Jones court said that the reason for the preclusion from evidence in civil trials was added “in order to make clear that the sole legal sanction for the failure to wear a seat belt is the criminal penalty provided by the statute and that the failure could not be used against the injured person in a civil trial.” The Amarillo Court of Appeals notes that the Glyn-Jones court could have simply said that the legislature did not intend to preclude admission of evidence of seat belt usage in the type of case then under consideration, but it did not. “Although one could argue that the ‘sole legal sanction’ language is dictum, we view the language to be the foundation on which the Court based its ruling. Accordingly, we will adhere to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of legislative intent as expressed in Glyn-Jones.” OPINION:Johnson, C.J.; Johnson, C.J., and Reavis and Campbell, JJ.

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