Monday, April 20, 2009

Lawmaking is like sausage

What is it this time? Seat-belt law. New Hampshire is the only state without one. "Common sense for all" is what's written on the signs. (Under 18 have to buckle up)

Under the new law, adults would have to buckle up or face a $25 fine under a mandatory seatbelt bill facing a hearing in the state Senate today. Additionally, the state would get 3.7 million in federal highway funds which would have to be earmarked to be used to raise seat-belt use.

Sound a little circular to you?

For the record, this old coot feels that I should be able to make my own decisions about anything that does not directly effect others. Drinking and driving can directly cause an accident, so I have no problem banning it. Talking on a cell-phone while driving can and does cause accidents (even more so than being drunk according to most studies) -- ban it. Shooting at the streetlights is illegal for a reason - I am affecting other people.

Not wearing a seat-belt does not cause anything to happen. I understand that post-accident injuries can be higher (airbags do the best job with a lap belt, but not a shoulder belt) but I have to be the one to determine the risks and costs of that for myself. I have insurance. My family is my business.

As for the costs to you or other drivers, NH doesn't require car insurance, leaving that risk choice up to the driver. Unlike every other state, you do not have to carry insurance to cover anyone. The same accident that harms another person (for whom you have no insurance coverage) might also harm you (but wear your seatbelt so you don't get hurt)?

Seems a little back-asswards to me.

"But supporters say the state and municipalities would save money from reduced health costs of caring for severely injured, unbelted victims". I could more readily support a requirement to have insurance to cover the other driver than one to require me to protect myself.

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