Seat-belts are Essential to Keeping Peace!

24 May

The last few weeks I’ve seen a commercial several times where they tout that if you fake wearing your seat-belt, police are trained to spot people not wearing seat-belts even in the dark. Now, this is exceedingly distressing to me for multiple reasons. Though I suspect that most people view this commercial with relative indifference, I have many reasons that this should not be the case.

I believe I should begin by letting you know of my bias on this “issue.” I believe that a government should give you the right to be stupid. This makes me very Libertarian on many issues. If you want to harm yourself, so long as you don’t harm anyone else, you should have the right to do so. Wearing a seat-belt doesn’t endanger anyone but the non-wearer. Now I have heard the argument that someone being killed on the highway could increase the cleanup costs for the rest of us taxpayers.

There are at least two responses to this, which could easily make it a worthless argument. First, should the government really pay for roads and their cleanup. Assuming that is too Libertarian for you, the second response is that someone who is at fault in an accident would be responsible for the extra cleanup costs incurred. Of course this would lead to Insurance companies paying for it, which would require them to set rules for payments to be made (rather than the government).

I realize, however, that our government has said that they want us wearing seat-belts, which is their prerogative. Nevertheless, even assuming that you disagree with my assertion that you should have the right to be stupid, there is still significant reason to be disgruntled by this commercial. I think most of us, even the most violent supporter of seat-belt laws, would concede that police do far more important things, even more important traffic issues, than catch people without a seat-belt on. Yet, they are spending valuable training dollars on teaching policemen how to spot people without seat-belts. tsk. tsk.

Really? We’re not training police officers (during this time) to spot drug dealers, hate crimes, beatings, counterfeiting, violent crimes, child abuse, or even dangerous or impaired driving? Instead of learning about those, let’s teach them to spot someone who’s faking the wearing of a seat-belt. The absurdity drips from the situation. We’ve gone from having officers of the law keep peace to finding invented crimes.

I assert that we can do better for ourselves, for the protection of our citizenry, and for life in general than training our first line of defense against crime on techniques people use to look like they’re wearing seat-belts. Maybe we could focus that energy into making texting while driving illegal. Then, of course, I may not be able to text blog posts like this one, but at least police pulling me over may be saving lives other than mine own.

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