My Views on Seat Belt Laws
These days, laws which protect us from ourselves are very popular, and seat belt laws have quickly swept the nation. Have we become such an irresponsible society that we now feel the need to legislate common sense? Everyone who has the most basic knowledge of automobiles and the simplest laws of physics knows the value of proper restraint during the course of a collision. Does the government have the right to punish those who don't apply that knowledge? Being that the purpose of a law is to protect the rights of the citizen and assure public safety, how does my not wearing a seatbelt infringe on either of these? As an adult, I have the right to conduct myself in the manner I choose, so long as I don't endanger anyone else, or infringe upon their rights. Not wearing my seatbelt does none of the above. Sure, I may hinder my own safety, but it has no bearing on the safety of the general public. If I have an accident while not wearing a seatbelt, it inflicts injury on no one except myself. The insurance angle doesn't work, either. If a person files a personal injury claim, and the claimant is found to have not been wearing restraint, the insurance company has the right to not pay, just as a smoker who lies on his health insurance form, or someone who hides their chronic illness, but still files claims.
As adults, we have a responsibility to make sure our children are protected, and laws protecting them should be supported; but if seatbelts are so important, why are they not even offered on school buses? A child who has the common sense to use restraint, which is required by law in his parents' automobile, doesn't even have the option on his daily commute to school! Who are we trying to kid? Anyone can plop their kid onto the back of their motorcycle and zoom off down the highway, without thinking twice. In many states, it is still legal for children to ride, unrestrained, in the back of a pickup truck; I am aware of lobbies in some states to try and pass a law prohibiting this. Although I have many fond memories of riding in the back of my father's truck as a child, I suppose this would make much more sense than treating adults like children with condescending restraint laws.