Buckle up, Idaho.

Idaho Transportation Presents:
Leighton Vander Esch’s Rules to LVE By.

Idaho native Leighton Vander Esch has quite a story. He grew up in Riggins, where he played eight-man football for Salmon River High School. After winning a couple state championships and graduating, Leighton headed south to Boise. After just a couple seasons on the blue turf, he went from walk-on to defensive player of the year – making him one of the top prospects in college football. Not long after that, Dallas came calling and the rest is history.

Leighton’s hard work and rules to live by have got him to where he is today. He has many rules he follows. Stay humble. Work hard. Always wear a shirt when frying bacon. But the most important rule Leighton lives by is always “Buckle up.” Because he knows that seat belts save lives – they could even save yours.

Here are some of Leighton’s rules to LVE by:

  • Fishing stories get better the more you tell them
  • Be patient when out-of-state friends think you’re from Iowa
  • It’s pop, not soda
  • Camouflage never goes out of style
  • Always put a lift on your pickup
  • Never wear cologne when you go hunting
  • Most importantly, always buckle up

Here in Idaho, we do things a little differently.

Take it from LVE himself, Mr. Leighton Vander Esch.

“I always buckle up because I’ve got a lot left I want to do. I’m sure you do too.”

Keep your friends safe.

Most people buckle up — 85% of people did in 2019, in fact. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of motor vehicle fatalities are from people who aren’t properly restrained. Using a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a crash by nearly 50 percent.

One of Leighton’s most important rules to live by is to buckle up. It’s no secret that seat belts save lives. And Idaho law requires everyone to use a belt. But buckling up isn’t just important because it’s the law; it’s also the right thing to do. We can help remind each other to use seat belts too. We’re all part of a community and we can help keep each other safe. That’s what Leighton’s teammates do on the field. And it’s an example we can all learn from.


Small town life makes your
life anything but small.

Leighton also learned in Riggins that the more a community comes together, the better life is for all of us. He and his neighbors look out for one another and help each other where they can, whether it’s lending a hand on the ranch or bringing soup when someone isn’t feeling well. Leighton’s town taught him that it’s the rules we choose to live by that make all the difference.

It’s the most important
belt you’ll ever wear


Percentage of Idahoans who wear their seat belts


Percentage of motor vehicle occupants killed in 2018 were not belted


Percentage of unrestrained fatalities happened on rural roads


If wearing a seat belt, you’re 50 percent less likely to suffer a fatal or serious injury from a traffic crash