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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Seat Belt Issue Better Defined

My initial reaction to Dedicated Dad's rather brusque and obnoxious comment on the post: The Insanity of Nine Kings and Queens was to be angry and brusque right back. I thought I had seen Dedicated Dad on some sites I liked, so I stopped by his blog. A Threeper, an Oathkeeper, and a fan of the seat belt law. What?

So, I decided that he at least deserved a better response to his comment than the one I made, so I deleted mine and wrote this post all to the issue of seat belt laws.

First and foremost, my family mostly wear seat belts. I have instructed them that they are better off wearing one than not, that statistics bear this out. I have also pointed out that I DO NOT and the reason for this is in protest to stupid laws that need not be laws at all. It is the moment they passed the seat belt law that I recognized their intent was not to make me safe, or to protect my little brain from damage, but to provide another means by which the average cop could gain access to my vehicle on fishing expeditions for illegal drugs, or weapons, or candy canes for all they cared, as long as they were gaining access.

If my little brain were the issue they would require not only seat belts, but also helmets because everyone knows that despite seat belts, the largest single cause of death in an automobile is head injuries. Where are the helmets? It would make more sense for the reasons listed below that seat belts not be used and helmets required. I'm sure Mr. Dad, by his arrogance, will share with us pictures of him and his family driving along with seat belts secured and helmets on EVERY damn time they take a drive, because safety really is the only criteria on which to base intelligence.

Also, I did not like their method. Why not just put it up for a vote? They didn't do that, they imposed it largely by federal coercion.

Now, here is the crux of my objection to the LAW, not the BELT. Seat belts do not always save lives, they make survival more likely, but there are side impact crashes that trap individuals between the seat belt and the vehicle, crushing the individual body between them when otherwise they would be thrown to the other side of the vehicle. If you don't think seat belts provide enough resistance to crush a body, a tow truck driver told me that he rights upended cars using the left and right front seat belts as a sling to lift the car back onto its wheels. He doesn't wear a seat belt either and he has been on plenty of crash scenes, so spare me the "I'm a cop and I've seen the results" bs. The results largely would have been the same. And, there are no statistics being kept when a seat belt has caused the loss of life, so the argument being made by Dedicated Dad is faulty at best and fraudulent at worst.

Seat belts make escape from a vehicle much more difficult and perhaps impossible when the vehicle is on fire or submerged. Seat belts trap people in cars when they would have been better off had they been thrown clear. The random and sheer luck aspect to this event cause me to want to leave it all in God's hands anyway.

For mountain driving on windy roads (I live in Colorado) next to raging whitewater rivers, not wearing a seat belt gives me a bit more comfort because tourists tend to run us off the road quite a bit as they gawk at the beautiful scenery and there is nowhere to go but in the water, where not minutes but split seconds count.

Then, there is the time-imposition aspect to it. The government, by passing the law, instructs me 10-15 times a day to perform an act of clicking the seat belt together. 10-15 x 365= 5,475 times a year on the off chance that I will be in an accident that required a seat belt a 30% chance by the way.

In my younger days things were a lot wilder and I was involved one way or the other in numerous accidents, two rollovers and other serious crashes. I was never injured, nor was anyone else in the vehicles none of us wore seat belts back then. No one was thrown out of the vehicle, either. Since then, over the past 30 years, I have never been involved in an accident. So, what good has a seat belt ever done me? Just think of it rationally, instead of going off on a "Only idiots don't wear seat belts" tirade. What a useless waste of time.

I will reiterate: seat belts mostly reduce the possibility of death or injury, but they do not prevent it and they damn sure do not prevent it every time and therefore it should not be a law. A law should be something where the percentages are not figured, that the outcome is absolute. For example a law against stealing is just, why? Because it is ALWAYS wrong to do so, it is always a crime against someone else's property.

For my part, I think seat belt laws were designed by statists to satisfy a statist mindset. I am fully capable of making that decision every time I get in a car, EVERY time. My ability to discern for myself what is best, whether I am on a windy, mountain road next to a raging whitewater river, I want to decide NOT to wear the damn thing and removing THAT decision is where I personally find the damn crime.

10 comments:

  1. T.L. this is excellent. May I reprint minus the personal notes to "Dad" at Libertarian Republican as a Guest Editorial?

    If so, please email me ericdondero@yahoo.com or leave a quick V/M at 979-848-4575.

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  2. Right on TL. I was in the back seat of a car that spun out of control, slamming into a tree sideways. The guy sitting in the front seat ahead of me was the only one wearing a seat belt, and was the only one who was killed. I was partially ejected from the vehicle and pretty fucked up, but had I been wearing a seat belt I would have been killed also. Ditto for the others in the car, who because they were able to be thrown about avoided being crushed.

    I do agree with Dad in the point if you choose not to wear a seat belt, your on your own. If that be the price for my freedom of choice, it is worth paying. Let it be my choice when I decide to use it, and when I do not.

    But as you say, in the end it is nothing but yet another reason to stop and search us for reasons to collect revenue.

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  3. In that vein, I would agree to pay a larger insurance bill for refusing to wear a seat belt, or to accept some limitation on the amount spent on my care, commensurate with the amount that would have been spent on someone who wore a seat belt. It is only the decision that they have taken from me that I want recognized, the rest of it is diversion and distraction.

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  4. I agree fully with your stance on the law in this matter.
    I respectfully disagree on the matter of wearing the belts, but I also respect your RIGHT not to do so if you wish, and I fully support you in that.

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  5. Uh, TL, lose the seatbelt gig. I understand what you're saying, but in the larger scheme of things it is just not worth the breath. If you don't want to wear a seatbelt, don't. Nobody gives a damn.

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  6. Alan, I have to differ with you on that. If no one gave a damn there wouldn't be seat belt laws, or even this post. I wish to God no one gave a damn, that is exactly the world I would like to live in. Instead, I have people crawling up my ass demanding that I use this, buy that, dispose of this over here, get rid of that by doing this. I am fed up with it and this is just another example of the same nannyist bullshit that got us here, accepting fundamentally flawed laws.

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  7. The worth or lack of worth of seatbelts isnt the issue for me.. I wear one sometimes when I feel a need and most times I dont..There's two reasons I dont like government sticking their nose in my business about seatbelts.. 1st and foremost my safety or how I choose to regulate it is none of their damn business. 2nd is the entire corrupt action was fostered by Insurance company shills and crooked govt lackies on the take who decided it was in their interest to promote legislation that would create the foundations of a financial windfall concerning lawsuits for people who werent wearing their govt mandated seatbelt during an accident resulting in a claim.. same for the corrupt helmet laws.. this corruption is reinforced now by the "flight recorders" presently installed in your vehicles..
    Compliance begets servitude.

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  8. Please do as your conscious dictates, I don't were a seat belt or a helmet, but that is the choice I have made for myself about my own personal welfare. If you feel safer in a seat belt you probably are, simply because of the feeling of security that you get from it. I have spent most of my life on byways that were constructed along side water ways and they make me feel trapped.

    T.L. that was a good point you made about someone being crushed between a point of impact and the seat belt. My wife if she had been wearing a seat belt that day.............

    Dennis
    III
    Texas

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  9. My 2 cents worth (although, due to inflation they're only worth about .5c now):
    i hate seatbelt and helmet laws. they are a violation of my God given right to "let darwin take over". having said that, i always wear a helmet when on the motorcycle. it is no longer a law here in PA, but i still wear my helmet. helmets have saved my life twice so far, and i kept both of them as "souvenirs", both times i cracked the outer shell of the helmets (once was me being a dumb kid, once was when a pickup pulled out in front of me and i was doing 60mph). enough about the helmet, now for the seatbelt...
    i hate the "law", and sometimes i drive without wearing the seatbelt, but i usually wear it because my daily driver has airbags. as a volunteer emt-b, i've seen a few accidents. when a vehicle has no airbags, my experience shows me that rate of injury is about the same with or without seatbelts, and you get those "miracle" survivors on both sides. however, my experience shows me that if your car has airbags and you're not wearing a seatbelt, your chances of being seriously injured goes way up. there is a pretty easy fix (for the vehicle manufacturers) if they ever decided to implement it... put a sensor in so that in addition to the seatbelt light, if there's no seatbelt engaged the airbag doesn't deploy. it's a simple matter of electronic logic control.
    as for the insurance issue. i believe that insurance companies should ask whether you wear seatbelts/helmets always/sometimes/never and charge your premium accordingly, also allow them to add a clause that says if you said you wear your seatbelt always (to get a lower premium) but get into an accident without wearing it, then you have voided your contract with the insurance company and they aren't required to pay any of you medical bills (they must still pay for damage to the vehicles/property/etc involved)

    sorry, a bit long winded, but it's hard to say all that in fewer words.

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