Spend as much time in courts as I do (as an observer and reporter) and you will notice a disturbing trend: Nearly every traffic ticket involving a teen-aged driver includes a charge of not wearing a seat belt.

Driving or riding in a vehicle without a seat belt is nothing less than an invitation to die.  In the last three months, more than dozen teenage drivers and riders have died on Southwestern Virginia roads and not one was wearing a seat belt in the crash.

To make matters worse, the Virginia General Assembly refuses to make not wearing a seat a “primary law,” which means a cop needs another reason to stop you before he or she can write you up for not wearing a seat belt.

Call it a case of double stupidity: the lunacy of our elected legislators and the foolishness of kids who think they are invincible.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m glad you’re feeling somewhat better Doug. Your language and logic are almost back to normal. Do I need to list the contradictions in your strong statements about seat belts as compared to your own choices and being the worst advocate for your own health? You have also written about your total disregard for others when you make your choices, some of which are illegal.

    I don’t think there is anything crazy about not expanding the nanny state and increasing the tendency to oppress people thru financial benefit to the “justice” system.

    Do you really think anyone gives a crap about the life or death of anyone in a car based upon seat belt use?

    This issue is hardly a top priority or worthy of your name calling in hyperbole.

    • Huh? Studies by the National Transportation Safety Institute show that people who drive without using seat belts have less control of a car in emergency situations when puts others on the road in danger.

      You may not give a crap about someone dying in a car crash but I’ve lost loved ones in car wrecks and some of them were not wearing seat belts. I care about lives of human beings, whether I know them or not. Sorry you don’t.

      As for my health, I think you will find my attitude on that has changed. Almost ending up in a wheelchair is a good wake up call. So has my mother’s eroding health.

      There’s a lot more that I could say about your heartless tirade but I’ll stop before I really get pissed.

      • Well, if you need to get more pissed off I hope it’s for the right reason. I took exception to your rhetoric. I happen to agree with not expanding an already existing law with the primary cause addition. So I guess that means I have the IQ of a plant.

        I also didn’t say I don’t give a crap about anyone else. I’m just not on board with the State trying to legislate against stupidity and using the reasoning that it’s for our own good.

        You cited one item that I can agree with to a certain extent. Yes, a person is in a better position to drive if something has already happened that could knock you out of the driver’s seat. I would say the odds of improving the situation are slim for the typical driver. What’s more important to me is whether using a seat belt, or not, causes accidents. The ping pong ball driving scenario does not qualify as a common event.

        So, we disagree on a principle. I advocate for self responsibilty. I use a seat belt out of habit and because I think it’s in my best interest. A passenger in my vehicle has no other option but to use one or find another ride.

        I started driving when lap belts were an option and my first car never had any. I was probably using one regularly before any laws were passed. I guess that’s when they added a shoulder strap. Why don’t we all have Nascar harnesses and have a law for helmets in cars? It’s about saving lives right?

        I wonder how it’s possible after all these years that anyone is not trained or conditioned to use one automatically as I do. If the parents are the example, then I guess they don’t care about themselves or their children. If it’s a car full of teenagers then I guess they don’t care about themselves or anyone else in the car. Nobody can say it’s from lack of education or ignorance unless they are from another country. There are buzzers and dash board lights, and attempts to make the car do it when you get in. Nope, we need a badge and threats, which seldom cures chronic offenders.

        I’m far more concerned about distracted drivers, a real cause of accidents. I think we need a new word, something foreseeable is not an accident. Dancing around cell phones and all the other entertainment options in vehicles hasn’t got a big enough body count yet. The evidence and studies are ample to treat it as drunk driving. Get pissed off about that.

        I feel threatened and it’s more dangerous on the road than ever before. There should be a law for automatic subpoena of phone records for every driving incident. Insurance companies would love to add an exclusion to policies.

    • I hope you give a crap about your wife’s and children’s lives in a car crash. Seat belts save lives. Period. Ask any police officer. If it takes the coercive power of the State to convince people that wearing a seat belt is a good idea, so be it. I agree with Doug – I have nothing more to comment on about your heartless tirade.

      • Fine. Where do you draw the line? Let’s make motorcycles illegal. The rider starts the voyage on the outside of the transport. No need to worry about ejection from the vehicle. Then there is the helmet debates. I notice Lance prefers the brain bucket style. A full face helmet and shield is far superior. How about a fine for wearing sneakers while riding or making it mandatory to wear the best protective outfit known to date? I think those tethered inflatable jackets are cool. The image of a rider bouncing like a beach ball is amusing. It’s less funny that bikers love twisties. Why? So they can flirt with death and tell stories about laying it over so that sparks fly off the footpegs. That’s fun till it isn’t.

        I’m mildly concerned that you endorse the coercive power of the State. Obesity is mostly off limits so far, it’s much easier to apply your wishes to a minority.

        • My apologies, Mr. King. When I read what you wrote, “[d]o you really think anyone gives a crap about the life or death of anyone in a car based upon seat belt use?”, I naturally arrived at the conclusion that you didn’t give a crap about anyone else. I’m glad that you’ve clarified your position, when you replied to Mr. Thompson: “I also didn’t say I don’t give a crap about anyone else.”

          As to my “endorsement” of the coercive power of the State: anyone who knows me knows that I don’t care for government. However, government, which is ideally the collective will of a community, should be able to set limits on foolishness. Not wearing seat belts is foolish. I think that motorists (and that includes motorcyclists) who are injured in an accident because they are not wearing seat belts or protective gear should be sentenced to ride with the Rescue squad for a week. I’m willing to bet that, after seeing a dead person who had been ejected from a vehicle because he/she was not wearing a seat belt, he/she just might change his/her mind about the wisdom (or not) of wearing a seat belt. I also think that those who are injured in vehicle or motorcycle accidents because they did not wear a seat belt or wear appropriate protective gear should pay a surcharge for their hospital care. Why should the community subsidize hard-headedness?

          Odd that you are concerned about the fact that I “endorse the coercive power of the State.” I assume that you don’t when you call for “a law for automatic subpoena of phone records for every driving incident.” If you are going to be a libertarian, at least be consistent.

          • I wouldn’t call myself libertarian, I prefer realist, or humanist. I don’t support zero tolerance laws that don’t solve the problem and add me to the group of potential revenue based on a false premise.

            Scenario is I choose not to buckle up for a short distance at slow speed in anyplace VA. I’m out of bounds and random Deputy Dawg can notice and cite me. It’s the law. This might never happen or it’s my lucky day, once every 5 years.

            I’m sick of chasing the two percent of chronic offenders by making the larger percentage of law abiding citizens potential targets for purposes of quota or boredom relief. It’s pretty safe, or is it another opportunity to search without a warrant?

            My main argument is about priorities. I would rather see better enforcement of existing laws that are true hazards and causes of collisions. Speeding in town or following too closely, driving too fast for conditions, are a full time job for someone. Not wearing a seatbelt has very personal consequences and is more in line with you told your kid not to touch a hot stove and they will still get burned.

            How can anyone be consitent in a land of contradictions? Especially not in some sanctity of life debate. Do you need a list? It hurts me just to think about it.

            I was being somewhat glib about the oughta be a law to _________.

            With or without a law, I will keep it in mind, if I survive the head on crash caused by some distracted, inconsiderate, driver that is texting or saying LOL.

            This could be a business idea. The last words of a careless person that shared their disinterest in the well being of others in the path.

  2. As a political agnostic with a low tolerance for government interference in our lives, I share the beliefs of many that we have too many laws but I think a need exists for laws that affect the safety of others. Studies of seat belt use show a direct correlation between the ability to control a vehicle and seat belt use so I favor seat belt laws because they help protect the safety of others on the road.

    The same is true for laws on cell phone use and texting. I believe both should be banned outright while operating a motor vehicle on the road. I’ve had to swerve and even go off the road to avoid getting hit by cars driven distracted drivers using cell phones or fiddling with their GPS units or another electronic device.

    As for motorcycle helmet laws, I think the law of natural selection applies. If someone is idiot enough to ride without a helmet or one of those half helmets that provide little or no protection, then they deserve whatever happens to them. Bikers who ride without proper protection are nature’s way of thinning the herd. I generally use a full-face helmet and ride with full leathers or body armor under my jeans even in the hottest days of summer.

    BTW, I installed seat belts in my ’57 Ford in high school and used them. Even put one in the center of the front bench seats so my dates could sit closer :),

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