I am curious at what point we stopped leaving common sense choices up to competent adults and started making them state law? I am referring to seatbelt wearing mandates.
I typically always wear my seatbelt when I drive anywhere and ensure my family does the same, but should we really be forcing people to do so?
My first car was a restored 1963 Chevy Nova SS which did not come with seatbelts. The first day I drove it, I found that when I took a corner at high speed without a seatbelt, I was quickly flung into the passenger seat and had to fight the wheel to avoid hitting a parked car.
I have worn a seatbelt faithfully every day hence forth. I ensure my children do as well. I dread a circumstance like mine, where my unbelted child becomes a projectile, bouncing around the car. I do this because I value the safety and well-being of my family. Let alone the economic cost should a member get seriously injured.
I can see the merit in some of the laws. I agree we need laws ensuring children are buckled in. I realize there are negligent parents and something needs to be done to protect children from their own genetic misfortune. However, I cannot agree that the state government should be in the practice of monetarily fining adults, for personal negligence.
In the common scenario of an adult driving alone without a seatbelt, I cannot fathom how they are compromising the safety of anyone but themselves? I have yet to find a single case of an individual flying through their windshield after a collision and having their lifeless body harm a bystander. It is clear the law in this case is for no other reason than 'for our own good'.
'For our own good' laws are anathemas to a free society. They imply we are not autonomous free individuals, but government subjects.
By using the logic applied to our seatbelt laws, why has the NC legislature not mandated we all eat a daily quota of kale or broccoli? Some of us may not like it, but it’s good for us, so it should be common sense we eat it, right? And since its common sense, there should be no harm in making it a law, right?
People who don’t make healthy choices may die sooner than others, isn’t it our civic duty to protect them from themselves? How is it that I am smart enough to vote for those who make the laws, yet I am too dumb to make my own choice as to whether or not I wear my seatbelt?
“Click-it-or-ticket” seems to be the common saying among law enforcement. If we are caught not wearing a seatbelt we can be fined by the state and often compelled to attend court proceedings. Fining people may or may not make them safer, but it definitely will make them poorer.
The current ticket for a violation of the NC seatbelt law is $161.00, this includes the fine and subsequent court costs. This amount of money is pittance to the Corvette or BMW driver, but to the single mom or pensioner living on social security, that may be the difference between eating and going hungry.
Of all the victimless crime laws -laws I abhor the existence of in the first place, as 'society' is not a legal entity and therefore cannot be a victim- seatbelt laws are the worst. Being fined for not wearing a seatbelt is little better than extortion. In fact some counties have been sued for implementing seatbelt ticket quotas, as they are an effective means of shoring up a county’s budget. Given the difficulty of fighting such a ticket in court, these laws are ripe for abuse by budget strapped local governments.
The ultimate irony I see in seatbelt laws, is when I see an officer on a motorcycle ticket a driver for a not wearing a seatbelt. Are seatbelt laws really about safety, or are they simply another avenue for government revenue?