Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Click it or Ticket

Walter Williams makes a good point. It is a liberty issue. The government has no cause to tell me what risks I can and cannot take.

However, the socialist (Williams' term) aspect of the argument is a stupid one to me. I don't see how you are more likely to create a social cost if you get into an accident without a seat belt than you would be if you were wearing a seat belt.

Without a seat belt (according to the logic) ,in the very bad accidents you would die (no cost - I love how socialists only value life with respect to how it impacts society, as if it has no intrinsic value outside of it.) In the not so bad accidents you may or may not die, and you may or may not end up costing society money.

With a seat belt, you would likely survive, but have the potential to have serious injuries (cost to society). In more minor accidents, there may or may not be a "cost to society."

Anyway, you should wear your seatbelts. Your passengers should wear their seatbelts. And, you should make safety a major factor in your automobile purchases. However, the government should not be able to require seatbelt use. (Cynicism alert - the government only cares to the extent that they receive money when they issue a citation).

Kid H.


Blogger Linda said...

I think that you should wear seat belts, but at the same time if somebody wants to die in a car crash that is their choice. However, as you said if you are just hurt then there are medical bills and stuff to contend with. Not to mention the fact that everybody seems so happy to bring a lawsuit against somebody else. So then you will have this person not wearing their seatbelt, getting injurred in an accident not their fault and taking the other driver for all that they are worth.

I was in an accident a few months ago and had I not been wearing my seat belt, I may have faced a much worse thing than a ride to the hospital.

While I agree that the government should have no place telling you to wear a seat, don't you think it could be a way to protect not only that driver, but any driver they may face in an auto accident?

2:39 PM  
Blogger The Management said...

Well, I guess you could say that as a civil matter, failure to wear a seatbelt could constitute negligence.

Thus if you hit a driver who was not wearing a seatbelt, that driver would be contributorily negligent which in Maryland, and many other states constitutes a complete bar to recovery.

I also think it may be a slippery slope to say that the government can legislate to protect us from the negligence of others. It's a bit of a reductio absurdum, but you could take that reasoning pretty far - to the point where you would have to collect medical history data from any potential passengers. I guess it's like the reason that hair dryers say things like don't operate in the bathtub, etc.

Maybe all cars should be required to be made from Nerf material. That way no one would get hurt.

Anyway, like I said, it's stupid not to wear a seatbelt, for a lot of reasons. I got used to driving with a seatbelt and it's at the point where I'm uncomfortable without one - but all that happened before Georgia passed a seatbelt law (and when they did, the legislators promised it would NEVER become a primary offense - meaning that they could not stop you just to ticket you for that. Of course, they lied - as politicians are wont to do).

3:40 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

It's funny that you mention about being pulled over for not wearing your seat belt. In the town we live in, there are times when there is a police car on both sides of the street during prime traffic times just looking for those who fail to wear their seat belts. This truly annoys me. I basically live in a one horse town that probably has a total of three police units. I have to ask myself who is watching the keys to the store while two of the police units are looking for people not wearing their belts. In many ways I think that there must be better ways for law enforcement to be spending their time.

I too feel funny without a seatbelt. Last year I was pulled over for speeding (44 in a 40), but the police officer actually gave me a ticket for not wearing my belt. While I think that I probably was wearing it, I may have taken it off to get my registration out of my glove box, I did not argue, because the seat belt was the smaller of the two offences. On the other hand, would he have pulled me over for going 4 miles over the speed limit? I don't know???

4:53 PM  
Blogger Chowda said...

I was thinking about this exact discussion the other day - the seatbelt law doesn't fit nicely into other laws of society. If you don't wear a seatbelt and you get into an accident, it's highly unlikely that you would hurt someone more than if you wearing your seatbelt.

But here's my question - if there was no seatbelt law...and I get into an accident that kills the person I hit, would I be held liable if it was discovered that IF the person was wearing their seatbelt that they would have survived? Complicated, I know, but these are the questions that plague my mind on a Wednesday afternoon...peace.

12:46 PM  

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