would you feel if you learned the government enacted a law for your
safety that only applied part time? In other words, the government would
impose this law during times it benefited them either financially or
logistically. The state and federal government do not really care about
your personal safety. Otherwise, this law would be in effect across
the board with no exceptions.
The federal and state governments have a very bad habit of infringing
on personal freedoms. In fact, government entities are attempting to
assume the role of parent. They want to raise us according
to their rules. This makes one wonder why God gave humans a brain and
the ability to reason. I certainly do not appreciate some faceless entity
dictating my personal welfare.
Although I realize seatbelt legislation is an old subject, it is one
of my pet peeves. I remember our 1961 Ford Fairlane, three on the tree,
six cylinders, off-white with a brown and tan interior. We thought it
was the prettiest thing we had ever seen. It had everything: vent windows
for plenty of "fresh" air-conditioning, comfortable bench
seats instead of confining bucket seats, an AM radio, and a real spare
tire. We thought the car had everything anyone would need until my mother
started reading about a revolutionary option called the seat belt.
Mom made us buckle up to go around the corner as well as to go across
the country. I thought I would go mad having to sit confined to one
spot. Today my entire family buckles up every time we enter a vehicle
with no questions asked. We do it because it is the smart thing to do,
not because it is the law.
In the State of Alabama, if I am caught driving my kids around in either
our van or our truck and they are not wearing their seat belts, I will
receive a fine. However, if I drive them around in my 1951 Willys jeep
without buckling up that's okay because it was not originally equipped
with seat belts. Also, I am perfectly within my rights to put them on
the school bus each morning and send them to school in a vehicle that
the State does not require to have seat belts. My oldest child, age
9, has been in 3 accidents in the five years she has been riding the
bus. There is no equity in this situation. If I can be fined for not
buckling my children in the car, then the state should be fined for
violating the same law every time a kid gets on a school bus. As I have
previously stated my oldest daughter has already been in more wrecks
on the school bus than while in any of our family vehicles. This situation
raises the question of why individuals are held accountable for the
violation of this law, but not local and federal government?
Please make no mistake. I think seatbelts are a great idea. The recent
tragedy concerning Derrick Thomas is proof enough that seatbelts do
save lives. Thomas and two of his friends were involved in a tragic
auto accident earlier this year. Thomas and one of his passengers were
not wearing seatbelts and died as a result of the accident. The one
passenger who was wearing a seatbelt walked away from the accident with
a few minor injuries. My beef is not about the validity of wearing a
seat belt, but rather about whose choice it is to wear one.
The Federal and State governments continue to preach that wearing a
seat belt will reduce injuries, which in turn will reduce medical and
legal claims. This reduced level of claims, in the long run, will reduce
automotive, medical, and life insurance premiums. Have you ever stopped
and asked yourself when any of those insurance premiums you pay have
been reduced? They have not, and are not likely to in the future. If
you are going to wear seat belts, do it because it is the right thing
to do to protect yourself and your family, not because it is required
by the government. Seat belt legislation is bad for the simple reason
is infringes on your personal freedom.
The night we had a big wreck in our 1961 Ford, I was asleep on the back
seat instead of sitting up. As you may have surmised, I was not wearing
my seat belt nor was anyone else in the car. Dad never did, and still
does not, except when he is shamed into it by his grandchildren. Dad
skinned his knuckles, mom bruised her elbow, and I took the brunt of
the impact. I awoke the next morning with a bloody and bruised eye.
The drunk that ran into us got off with a small fine. Probably the only
injury that would have been avoided if seat belts were worn that night
would have been mine. We were stupid, but lucky.
The federal government was not set up nor intended to be our baby-sitter.
We do not need our states dictating our individual freedoms. Yes, my
dad should do the smart thing and wear his seat belt. My mother, God
rest her soul, should not have smoked. We are adults and should be allowed
to have a choice as long as that choice does not hurt someone else.