No, YOU click it

My sister and I were discussing the weirdness of seat belt laws. There has been an eruption of seat belt traps (right in the middle of the Lathrop projects – HELLO! WTF!) down the street from our house, and fellow MB contributor CP has even gotten a ticket from it.

While I always wear my seatbelt, and don’t really have a particular problem with the seat belt law, the question still stands.

Why force (adult, mature) people to wear seat belts? They aren’t at risk of hurting anyone else if they don’t wear their seat belt. We let people smoke, knowing that will kill them AND negatively effect people around them. We let people drink, knowing it can hurt them. We let people do lots of things knowing that common sense will keep a lot of them from doing it to excess.

They had another new seat belt trap set up last night; this time on Belmont just east of Damen.

So why single out seat belt laws? And why enforce it so strongly?

11 Comments so far

  1. Anon (unregistered) on August 11th, 2005 @ 4:31 pm

    I’m pro-seat belt laws, but anti-traps.

    You *can* hurt other people without wearing a seatbelt. From a backseat passenger flying into everyone else, to a driver losing control after a rear end collision causes them to smack their head on the steering wheel, to the other driver in the collision which has to live knowing that they killed someone not wearing a seatbelt, instead of just giving someone else a bad case of whiplash.

    I’ve been a passenger in a fatal accident where a co-worker flew out the window. Even though I walked away, I can’t say it didn’t f*** me up a little bit.

    That said, I think that seat belt traps are only done to boost city revenue. I’m not in favor of “traps” of any kind. It’s invasive and wastes the time of law-abiding citizens.

  2. Jennifer Roche (unregistered) on August 11th, 2005 @ 9:03 pm

    In addition to ANON’s comments — seatbelts cut down on injuries SIGNIFICANTLY. Unless you have fantastic health insurance (and who among us does?), if you face plant through the windshield, the rest of us are paying for it. No doubt about it.

  3. skye (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 2:25 am

    They tax alcohol and cigarettes already — just think of this as a cumulative tax on not wearing seatbelts (it probably wasn’t the transgressor’s first time).

    By the way, I’m not in favor of “taxes” of any kind.

  4. steven (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 7:48 am

    Seat belt laws or not, I’m using mine. What I want to know though is why there’s no law forcing motorcycle riders to wear helmets?

    The only time I’m in favor of traps is when they stop people over New Year’s Eve, or 4th of July, or some other holiday where it’s in fashion to drive drunk. Granted, people drive drunk all the time, but holidays seem to be special.

  5. Fuzzy (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 9:10 am

    We’ve touched on helmet laws before, but I realized that I didn’t really lay out my position beyond “it rankles”. I don’t think you can legislate morality and I don’t think you can legislate against stupidity. And no matter how well designed a helmet is, it does change your peripheral vision and hearing. There have definitely been times when I felt less of a danger to myself and others by not wearing a helmet.

    Am I in favor of wearing helmets and seatbelts? – Yes. In favor of laws requiring their use? – No.

  6. steven (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 9:18 am

    True, that’s one of the biggest complaints about helmets. How do you feel about passengers on bikes? Should they be required to wear helmets? It rankles me as well when I see a woman or child on the back of a bike, especially when the driver is wearing a helmet.

  7. Fuzzy (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 10:10 am

    I’m all for protecting minors from the stupidity of others.

    > It rankles me as well when I see a woman … on the back of a bike

    Yeah, she should get her own motorcycle! :-)

  8. steven (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 12:06 pm

    Ha, I should clarify…I don’t have a problem with women or children (of an appropriate age), or even men for that matter, on the backs of bikes…only when they’re not wearing helmets. It just seems like it’s a really bad accident waiting to happen. The passenger is not in control of the situation…I think they should be better, or just as, protected.

  9. Alana (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 11:02 am

    On the subject of motorcycle safety, I wear a full-face DOT and Snell approved helmet, carbon armored gloves, an armor plated Kevlar jacket with protection for my spine and elbows, overpants to match, along with Alpine Stars road racing boots that provide armored protection for my toes, ankles, and shins.

    Do I think these measures are optional? No.

    Anything less is irresponsible. If not to yourself, to the people who love you.

    Oh and P.S. I don’t ride on the back of anyone’s bike. ;)

    *And* I always wear my seatbelt.

  10. Alana (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 11:07 am

    Oh and on the helmet law thing- You can thank groups like this:

    On the message boards for the group of vintage motorcyclists I ride with, my tagline is, “Helmets may be optional, but the laws of natural selection aren’t.”

    Yup. Go ahead. Don’t put your helmet on. It’s more road for me.

  11. Alana (unregistered) on August 15th, 2005 @ 2:06 pm

    >And no matter how well designed a helmet is, it does change your peripheral vision and hearing.

    I keep coming back to this topic with more stuff in my craw.

    Fuzzy, with all due respect, these are arguments that the “biker” community has put out there and are very easily defeated. You hear better with a helmet on than with all that wind noise in your ears. And there are plenty of helmets on the market, my Nolan included, that do not lessen your peripheral vision.

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