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Friday · June 04 2004

My mom files moving violation tickets at the clerk's office. She told me the office is working a ton of overtime hours because the police are out en masse enforcing the seat belt law and the tickets are coming in faster than they can deal with them. She called their tactics “disgusting”, even ticketing people who are parked with the engine running waiting at the curb. I've passed through at least 4 seat belt enforcement zones in the last month. Someone has definitely lit a fire under the issue.

What you had to say:
June 04 2004

Aside from raising money for the government, I don't get this law. Why do you care if I'm wearing my seatbelt? It won't hurt you.

The only justification I can think of is that we, as taxpayers, end up paying for the police to go to the accident scene, and we pay the city for cleanup of the accident. So if wearing a seatbelt saves us this type of time & money, that may be some basis for it. However, most of the money for accidents is based on insurance, and if insurance companies are concerned, they could have a policy that pays out less if it's proven that you did not have your seatbelt on.

I always wear mine while driving or in the passenger seat--it's a habit/subconscious sort of thing for me. I hardly wear it in the backseat though.

I really don't get this law, the justification I outlined above is not enough to convince me that we should care if your neighbor clicks-it for da ticket or not.

June 04 2004

Holla! too rite steve.

June 04 2004

I asked a coworker this question, because I didn't have a good answer. His response was that seat belt laws are something that society wants to keep insurance costs down. The premium you pay is higher because of the higher costs incurred from lawsuits and injuries related to people who don't wear their seat belts. If more people wear seat belts, these costs are kept in check and your premiums shouldn't rise as fast.

When you buy car insurance, the agent can't discern whether you are a seat-belt user or not (unlike health insurance and smoking, where you will be charged a premium for being a smoker), so the extra cost is passed out to everyone no matter their behavior.

I guess the short answer to why we have seat belt laws is because people have asked for them.

I'm sure this isn't the only answer, but I can see the logic here.

June 05 2004

Hmmm, I still contend that since insurance companies have their accident investigators who survey the scene, conduct interviews, and basically figure out what happened have the ability to ascertain in the majority of cases as to whether someone was wearing their seatbelt or not. It's the same concept as other measures insurance companies use for pay-outs: liability, condition of car, reckless driving, under the influence, 3rd party interference, road conditions, tire reliability, etc. You always hear on the news for the accident description, "He was not wearing his seatbelt".

Therefore, there's no need to put the rise for insurance companies costs on the premium, you just pay out less after finding out if the person was wearing their seatbelt.
The effect will be: a. insurance companies won't be paying out as much for non-seatbelt users in accidents (so no one needs to pick up the cost), and b. people will wear their seatbelts more -- resulting in less cost for insurance companies (no need for law), and making the seatbelt pushers happy.

June 05 2004

I think writing legislation to reduce the cost of insurance sets a ridiculously bad precedent. If that's all it takes for lawmakers to cave in to public pressure, it won't be long before we see much worse. Think of all the bad habits we have that contribute to the cost of health insurance. Using seat belt laws as a guideline, shouldn't we make smoking, drinking, and having seconds on dessert illegal too? How about skydiving? Motorcycling? Skiing? Leaving home after dark? Walking around without a helmet and safety goggles? Forcing your fellow citizens to adhere to your own personal safety standards is fascism.

June 06 2004

I think skydiving without a helmet is against the law in some places. Dumbest thing I've ever heard. If something goes wrong skydiving, an inch of fiberglass on your noggin is not gonna save you.

What do you all think of child car seat laws? In Illinois a child has to be in a car seat until the age of 8. I've never seen an 8 year old in a car seat, and I think I stopped riding in one at age 2.

One thing with health insurance, HB, is that you usually pay the premium for your unhealthy behavior up front. If you smoke, then you pay more. They don't figure car premiums on seat belt use. Gender, age, location, and past driving record seem to get them close enough.

Dancing was outlawed in the town Ren moved to in Footloose.

© 2004 Jason Keglovitz