Repeal Seat Belt Laws
Governors and State Lawmakers
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The seat belt law is offensive to most Americans, regardless of whether they wear one. Most people do not want to be told what to do in their own vehicles but are nevertheless being admonished all across the fruited plain to "buckle up or pay". It is perfectly acceptable for police to ticket drivers who put others at risk through actions such as speeding, tailgating and drunk and aggressive driving. It is unacceptable to stop otherwise law abiding citizens whose only "crime" was to not use a safety device installed in their vehicles.
Seat belt laws create strained relations between law enforcement and law abiding citizens. Most Americans obey our laws and are more than willing to aid police when it comes to tackling crime. At a time of high alert for terrorism and crime, it is important for citizens to have good relationships with the police. But when one has to look over his or her shoulder to see if an officer is nearby peeking to see whether a seat belt is used, it symbolizes an acrimonious relationship between the public and the police and such is a form of a police state.
Seat belt laws violate the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, that being the right to be secure in one's own "persons....papers and effects". Seat belt laws also create unequal protection under the 14th Amendment. Such examples include: exemptions of certain vehicles from seat belt use, exemptions of passengers in back seats, exemptions for certain jobs such as postal carriers and weak or no helmet laws for cyclists while those riding in enclosed vehicles must buckle up or face a ticket. And since laws regulating seat belt and helmet use vary from state to state, one could be in compliance with state law in one state and be in violation in the next.
While a seat belt may have saved a life, a seat belt never prevented a crash. And whereas seat belts have saved lives, the converse is true as well such as in cases of fire, submersion, jackknife and whiplash. Persons buckled in their vehicles during such occurrences have often suffered a worse fate than if they were not. Since seat belts work both ways, is it not better to let competent individuals make that decision for themselves instead of it being forced upon them?
Finally, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Safety Council have shown that increased seat belt usage has not resulted in a reduction in fatalities. In some jurisdictions, forced seat belt use has contributed to more injuries and loss of life. The only state with no seat belt law, New Hampshire, has consistently ranked second or third since 1994 in lowest percentage of fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, according figures from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), an arm of the NHTSA. And Massachusetts, ranked first every year since 1994 but ranked second since 2002, has consistently been in the bottom 5 states in terms of percentages of seat belt users in the state.
We urge the governors and legislators of the 49 states with either primary or secondary seat belt laws to rescind and repeal enforcement of all seat belt laws. We never oppose voluntary seat belt use but vigorously oppose forced usage. Too many people across America, including men and women who have served this country to protect our freedoms, have seen their liberties eroded by receiving needless seat belt tickets, some with exorbitant fines. This is unacceptable in the land of the free and the home of the brave. America's policy regarding seat belt use must be "let those who drive or ride decide". God bless America.