Nyet, says Dr. Williams...<br><br><img src=http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/images/williams2.jpg><br><br>[i]Click it or ticket<br>Walter E. Williams <br><br>June 15, 2005<br><br><br>The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an office within the U.S. Department of Transportation, just finished its annual campaign to get us to wear our seatbelts under a program called "Click It or Ticket." States receive federal subsidies to ticket drivers if they or their passengers are not buckled up.<br> <br>Some states, such as Maryland, are so eager that they've equipped their officers with night vision goggles, similar to those used by our servicemen in Iraq. Maryland state troopers bagged 44 drivers traveling unbuckled under the cover of darkness. The NHTSA's "Click It or Ticket" program is another step toward making Americans serfs of the state.<br><br> Let's look at it. I personally believe that wearing seatbelts is a good idea, and I buckle up and remind my passengers to do so as well. Because seatbelt usage saves lives, mandating such is an abomination in a free society. There are many other legislative actions that are offensive to liberty and can have saving as their justification, a matter I'll turn to later. But let's talk about the immorality of mandated seatbelt usage.<br><br> Let's start with the question: Who owns Walter E. Williams? Is it President Bush, the U.S. Congress, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or do I own myself? I'm guessing that any reasonable person would agree that I own Walter E. Williams. The fact that I own myself means that I have the right to take risks with my own life but not others'. That's why it's consistent with morality to mandate that my car have working brakes. If my car doesn't have working brakes, then I risk the lives of others, and I have no right to do so. If I choose not to wear a seatbelt, then I risk my own life, which I have every right to do.<br><br> Of course, if it's stipulated that President Bush, the Congress or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania owns me, I have no such right; I'd be risking their property. Some might rejoin by saying, "Williams, if you're not wearing a seatbelt, and don't do us the favor of dying in an accident and become an incapacitated vegetable, society will have to bear the expense of taking care of you." That's not a problem of liberty and self-ownership. It's a problem of socialism.<br><br> There's no moral case for forcing anyone to care for me for any reason. When we buy into socialism, we buy into paternalistic government. It reminds me of what my mother used to say during my rebellious adolescent years: "Boy, as long as you're living in my house and I'm paying the bills, you're going to do what I say!" Paternalism is OK for children, but is it suitable for adults? For those who agree with "Click It or Ticket" because it saves lives, would they agree with other possible lifesaving mandates?<br><br> Each year, obesity claims the lives of 300,000 Americans and adds over $100 billion to health care costs. Should government enforce a 2,000-calorie intake limit per day? There's absolutely no dietary reason to add salt to our meals. Salt can lead to hypertension-induced heart attacks that kill thousands. Should government outlaw salt consumption? Sedentary lifestyles have been shown to lead to shorter and less healthy lives. Should there be government-mandated exercise programs?<br><br> The justifications used for "Click It or Ticket" can easily provide the template for government control of our diets and other lifestyle features. Maybe I'm a bit out of touch with today's Americans. With the silence in the face of attacks on Burger King and McDonald's, alleging they cause obesity, maybe Americans are pining for more government control over their lives -- and "Click It Or Ticket" is just softening up the rest of us for what lies ahead in the future.<br><br>
I rather the time and energy be focused on nailing those dumbasses who make a left turn in a busy intersection on a yellow and sit there blocking oncoming traffic for several minutes. People who drive 50 in the left-hand lane on the interstate. People who won't push their cars off to the side of the road when it stalls out during rush hour. People who refuse to use an earbud, especially when they're trying to left turn an H2 with one hand. I could go on.<br><br>
Exactly! <br>Lets nail those butt heads that swerve in and out of the carpool lane like those two solid yellow lines don't exist.<br><br>Enforce hands free cell phone use. <br><br>Some bozo is able to rhyme a couple of words and now it's all about seatbelts? Waste of our tax dollars. <br><br>
I don't think I agree with the way these laws are enforced, but I've lived in a state with seat belt laws all my life. The last thing we need is for the insurance companies to have another reason to hike their rates. That's also why I'd also like to see Illinois adopt a helmet law for motorcycle riders. I can sympathize with their desire to ride the way they want to and we've all heard "if you're dumb enough to ride without a helmet, you deserve what you get," but motorcycle fatalities is just one more thing to push up liability rates. If I'm wearing a seat belt, I want them to wear a helmet.<br><br>-- Charlie Alpha Roger Yankee Whiskey<br>
<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>If I'm wearing a seat belt, I want them to wear a helmet.<p><hr></blockquote><p>"Actually, it's true that bikers indirectly jack up the rates of car drivers, but not for the reason you might think. Car drivers plow over bikers at an alarming rate. According to the Second International Congress on Automobile Safety, the car driver is at fault in more than 70% of all car/motorcycle collisions. A typical accident occurs when a motorist illegally makes a left turn into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, turning the biker into an unwitting hood ornament. In such cases, juries tend to award substantial damages to the injured biker. Car insurance premiums go up."<br><br>And helmets are a minor factor.<br><br>Link<br><br>
_________________________ Old farts, the hidden caulk of civilization. Jim Atkinson
It also depends on what factors are placed on helmet protection.<br><br>The UK motorcycle helmets is quite frankly crazy. The helmets are designed to meet penetration resistance - which is great for the less than 1% of motorcycle accidents that results in the helmet becoming impailed on a metal fence.<br><br>However, the normal accidents - sliding along a tarmac road surface - the helmets can heat up to melting point and stick momentarily to the road surface causing an unfortunate biker to break his neck. I have met a biker who got lucky and survived the break without permanent consequences.<br><br>Of the 5 accidents I was involved in - all 5 involved the other drivers first comment to me to be "Sorry, I didn't see you". One accident I was directly in front of the car in question - if her eyes had been open and paying attention to the road (rather than the radio/CD, applying makeup, talking on the phone) then she'd have seen me!!<br><br><br><br>We all do what we do for the same reason: because it seems like a good idea at the time.
_________________________ I used to think it was terrible that life was unfair. Then I thought what if life were fair and all of the terrible things that happen came because we really deserved them? Now I take comfort in the general unfairness and hostility of the universe.
The point being, that insurance rates will probably be higher wether bikers where helmets or not.<br><br>But look at the bright side. Biker deaths contribute to the organ transplant banks in a significant way. On the other hand, transplant costs are usually high so perhaps we should stop organ transplants. That should lower health insurance rates. <br><br>
_________________________ Old farts, the hidden caulk of civilization. Jim Atkinson
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