While reading this paper it is important that you learn about seat belts and the new seat belt laws that plague our country today. It is crucial that you see why seat belt laws need abolished for adults. George Cayley first invented the seat belt in 1840. The first American patent was given in 1885 to Edward J. Claghorn. Nils Bohlin of Sweden created our modern day three-point seat belts in 1959. The standard issue for automobiles in 1964 had front seat belts only. In 1968, the standard automobile had both front and back seat belts (Mary Bellis).
Seat belt laws are laws that enforce or require the wearing of a seat belt while in a motor vehicle. On July 1, 2007, Indiana lawmakers changed the seat belt law to where every person in a car, truck, or SUV needs to be strapped down in their own vehicle. Forty-nine states have seat belt laws for adults and in many of those states, the police are allowed to pull over motorist whose only crime is not wearing a seat belt. The only state without a seat belt law for adults is New Hampshire, which is called the live free or die state.
New Hampshire does require children up to the age of eighteen to wear seat belts, but not adults. The state stood to get a 3. 7 million dollar federal highway grant if the law for adult seat belts would have passed. The Republican Senator for the state Bob Clegg said, “I happen to be proud of the fact that here in New Hampshire, we make our own decisions. If you want to wear a seat belt, you are free to do so. If you want to risk your life by not wearing one, it is not the government’s responsibility to force you to. ” Democratic Senator Lou D’Allesandro agrees with Bob Clegg.
D’Allesandro said, “Citizens, not government, should not make the choice whether to buckle up” (Norma Love). “Click It or Ticket is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mobilization campaign aimed at increasing the use of seat belts among young people in the United States. The campaign relies heavily on targeted advertising aimed at teens and young adults” (Wikipedia). Click it or Ticket comes around once a year from May 19 to June 1 where police from over 12,000 enforcement agencies find violators and fine them. The fine in Indiana for not wearing your seat belt is twenty-five dollars.
The highest fine for not wearing your seat belt is in Washington. They charge eighty-six dollars. The state with the lowest fine for this silly violation is Idaho, where they only charge five dollars. The weighted average fine of all states is twenty-five dollars and eighty cents (U. S. Department of Transportation). The fines for this little offence are absurd, eighty-six dollars for making a choice to live how you want, and five dollars is a complete waste of the officer’s time and the time of the person who is receiving the ticket.
Indiana police are on the roads everyday looking to pull someone over for not wearing their seat belt or wearing one the improper way. The correct way to wear your seat belt is “the shoulder belt should be worn closely against the body, over the shoulder, and across the chest, never under the arm. The lap belt should be firm against the body and low across the hips” (Ministry of Transportation). “During the “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign law enforcement officers statewide in Indiana cited nearly 20,000 drivers and passengers for not complying with Indiana’s new primary seat belt law” (Allen County Sheriffs Office).
A state mandatory seat belt law infringes on a person’s individual personal rights as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. The law is an unwarranted intrusion by government into the personal lives of citizens; denies the right to determine a person’s own individual personal safety and health standards for one’s own body, the ultimate private property, and forcefully mandates the personal safety and health opinion of those in government, under threat of a fine or jail, if not paid. The state has no authority to mandate by law how a person must live or die in a traffic accident.
Since traffic, accidents are unpredictable; the outcome determined by chance which cannot be legislated, a seat belt law confiscates through prior restraint, individual rights to due process based on a showing of probable cause (U. S. Department of State). Indiana’s government has made the enforcement of the seat belt law a priority. We taxpayers pay thousands of dollars to instruct our police officers to go and write tickets to make citizens pay fines for not wearing seat belts.
Let law enforcement spend their time chasing criminals, not trying to force citizens to comply with government regulations. The drivers who do not buckle up are not making anyone else less safe, and laws that bear down on these people do not make others any safer either. The government assumes many duties and worrying about seat belt violations makes it tougher for them to get these important duties accomplished. Instead of the government and police agencies trying to save us from ourselves, they should allow non seat belt wearing drivers to put themselves at risk and go hassle the dangerous drivers.
The Government should be worrying about drivers that are speeding, running red lights at busy intersections, and weaving in and out of traffic trying to get in front of everyone. People like that are who the police agencies should be giving their attention to. If we allow the government to keep passing these silly laws, where will they stop? Will the government decide one day to pass a law making smoking cigarettes illegal? They have already passed laws saying you can no longer smoke in public places.
It is a well-known fact that far more people die from smoking then they do from not wearing their seat belts. “About 3 million people die each year from smoking in economically developed countries, half of them before the age of 70” (Department of Environmental and Preventive Medicine). Will the government pass a law making it illegal to be obese? We all know that being obese is very hazardous to your health. “According to former US Surgeon General David Satcher, obesity counts for 300,000 premature deaths per year” (Harris Interactive Health Care Research).
Obesity causes far more deaths then that of not wearing your seat belt. In 2001, only 31,910 people were killed during a car crash (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). ‘California’s highways department of transportation shows that in 2001, there were 2,764 fatal automobile accidents. The number of people killed wearing seat belts was 1,496. The number killed not wearing a seat belt was 1,268. There were alto 266,777 injury accidents that year, and of those 237,028 were wearing a seat belt and 29,749 were nit.
‘Texas’ department of safety showed that in 2000, there were 2,983 fatal accidents. Of those 1,693 were wearing their seat belt and 1,290 were not. Their data also shows that there were 293,432 injury accidents, and of those 223,363 were wearing their seat belt and 29,931 were not’ (News with Views). As proof shows’ wearing a seat belt does not mean that a life will be saved. Forcing people to wear a seat belt in America, which is a “free” country, is unlawful and is against our civil rights. Each person is supposed to be their own, and have control over their own being.
Again with the question, if we allow the government to keep passing these laws, where will they stop? Works Cited Allen County Sheriffs Office, Indiana Seat Belt Usage Rate Reaches a Record High, September 18, 2007 http://www. allencountysheriff. org/pio/press. html? ID=press_releases1190145173 Bellis Mary, The History of Seat Belts, 2007, http://inventors. about. com/library/inventors/bl_seat_belts. htm Department of Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, The Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital London, UK http://bmb.
oxfordjournals. org/cgi/content/abstract/52/1/3 Harris Interactive Health Care Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2003-2007 http://healthlink. mcw. edu/article/1031002183. html Love Norma, Senate votes down seat belt law, June 01, 2007 http://www. seacoastonline. com/apps/pbcs. dll/article? AID=/20070601/NEWS/706010427 Ministry of Transportation, Seat Belts: Stay Safe, December 1, 2006 http://www. mto. gov. on. ca/english/safety/seatbelt. htm News with Views, National Seat Belt Crackdown, May 26, 2004 http://www. newswithviews. com/NWVexclusive/exclusive18. htm
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Annual Assessment of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2001 http://www. nhtsa. dot. gov/people/injury/airbags/buckleplan/mayplanner2003/factsheet. html U. S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts 2003 Early Edition, Washington, DC: 2004 http://www. statemaster. com/graph/trn_sea_bel_fin-transportation-seat-belt-fines U. S. Department of State, http://usinfo. state. gov/usa/infousa/facts/funddocs/billeng. htm Wikipedia, Click it or Tick it, October 29, 2007 http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Click_it_or_ticket