Fasten your seatbelts or up against the wall and spread em'

Ok in my state you get a 20 dollar ticket for not wearing your seatbelt. But what many do not know is that the way the law currently reads you could be handcuffed and arrested for operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner. Granted I know of no cases where that has happened but it could at the officer’s descretion.

Now I do NOT want to get into a debate about the safety of children. Certainly they should all be buckled up and you should be arrested if you are driving a car with kids not buckled up.

However I believe for us grownups a ticket is sufficient. Anyone agree or disagree? If so why?

I disagree on every count. I believe the state should not force me to wear a seatbelt or anything else which does not directly affect others.

If the argument is going to be that if i get into an accident they have to come and clean up the mess, then that might be an argument for insurance but I cannot see any reason whatsover why the state should have any authority to make me wear a seatbelt. Is my body mine, or isn’t it?

I believe that many laws are created to protect the stupid from themselves. And if you are dumb enough to not wear seatbelt (or to drive drunk, or to ride a motorcycle without a helmet,or not put your kid in a car seat, etc) well then, I think the law makers have a duty to protect you from your poor moronic self.
And I don’t want MY insurance rates to go up because someone else can’t take care of themself.
And oh yeah, don’t feed the friggin’ dingos, they BITE!

Okay… So, let’s start by banning black diamond ski runs and heli-skiing - both are statistically far more dangerous than driving without a seatbelt.

While we’re at it, we should ban motorcycles, since driving a motorcycle is statistically about four times more dangerous than driving a car without a seatbelt.

Extreme sports, gone. Ice hockey, gone. Skateboards, gone. No more SCUBA diving. No more private airplanes, which are about as dangerous as motorcycles.

All of these things are more dangerous than driving without a seatbelt.

Here in Canada, we’ve had seatbelt laws for a long time. Once we opened that door and granted that the government had a right to protect us from ourselves, it wasn’t long before we had bans on public smoking, mandatory helmet laws for motorcycles (and now Bicycles), and a host of other nanny-state laws. And it’s going to get worse. I fully expect that 10 or 20 years from now we’ll be sitting around arguing about whether or not the anti-Frito law should be repealed.

You’ll get my potato chip the day you can pry it out of my cold, dead, slightly greasy fingers.

gadgetgirl, is that so? Should the government also tell you if you should have an abortion? Or many other important decisions in your life? Maybe you would enjoy living in China where the government knows best, but western countries are not founded on the principle that the government should tell people what they should do since they are obviously too stupid to decide for themselves. You have a right to be stupid you know?

As that great statesman, Jesse Ventura, once said, “You can’t legislate stupidity”.

Just because there is a law, doesn’t mean that the truly stupid will obey it.

That’s why they’re stupid.

Or I should say, that’s why they make stupid decisions.

Didn’t this just happen to some woman going to a soccer meet with her son?

My feeling is, and always is towards bizarre laws like that, “How far is this going to go? When is enough enough already?”

I am so sick of this argument I could spit. What makes you think your rates will go down with this law?

Along those lines, the state should decide if you can have a baby or are forced to have an abortion. After all, we have to pay the taxes to send it to school. Damn kid.

If you are going to use that argument you can regulate people’s lives to any detail. First of all we ban all sports except golf, because people get hurt. Then we ban fat people because it is unhealthy and they have heart attacks which we don’t want to pay for. Then we ban thin people and make them eat beacause it’s good for them. Then we ban all religion since we also think that is pure superstition. Where do we stop?

I repeat, the foundation of western culture is that you have a right to be as stupid as you want unless the state has a compelling interest, not just an interest, but a very compelling interest in preventing you from doing something.

people who believe the state should be in charge can move to China and they will be very happy there. No need to think as the state does all the thinking for you. What isn’t prohibited is compulsory.

Since the debate seems to overwhelmingly side with those that feel that the government should not be protecting us from our own stupidity, I have a question. Why do we stand for it? Is our opinion the minority opinion in the real world? (I think it is safe to assume that the population of the Straight Dope message boards has a higher percentage of intellectuals than you would find at your average monster truck rally–no offense to you truckers out there). Is laziness the only real reason that we let lawmakers do this to us (i.e. I mean that we are too lazy to complain to the lawmakers, though we do plenty of complaining on the boards)? Or is the average American so stupid that they believe that such regulation of behavior actually benefits them (this has always been my theory)?

I hope you have some explanations because my theory that most people are stupid is incredibly disheartening. I rarley bother to advocate for political change because, when I do, so few people are willing to agree with me even when they cannot come up with a single reason why their opinion is correct (doesn’t happen very often on these message boards but happens a lot more than it should in other places). If they had any reason for believing what they believe (other than saying that it has always been that way) I wouldn’t be so disturbed, but if they have no reason for believing what they believe then they clearly haven’t thought about it and thus should have no opinion rather than a strong opinion. Strong opinions should be based on reasons that you have come up with (or heard someone else mention). Strong opinions should not be based on the fact that you have heard that there are good reasons for believing something, but you have no idea what they are. So few people are well educated on most topics that the average person should have no opinion and the decisions should be made by those that care enough about a topic to research it (or at least think about it for a while). Most people do not vote, but most of those that do vote are not qualified, in my opinion. The stupidity that comes out of their mouths is incredible. They eat the spin they are given spoonfuls at a time and are shocked when they discover the truth. People should know to expect the truth only in the most broad sense when they listen to politicians speak, yet the debates actually influence votes to a significant degree.

I suppose a great example of voter stupidity would have to be third parties. I cannot tell you how many people have said that they will not vote third party because they feel that it is throwing away their vote. God, the stupidity. For starters, each individual vote is almost worthless. Throwing away something that is almost worthless really is not that big of a deal. I know people say, “Look at Florida. See. Every vote counts.” Unless your vote is worth 500 of mine, every vote does not count. Florida was close, but not close enough for your individual vote to matter. If your decision about whom to vote for influences hundreds of other people, then your vote counts, otherwise it does not. Your vote has the same value no matter whom you cast it for (except perhaps Mickey Mouse, who gets hundreds of votes each election year). People essentially front run. They want to say that they voted for the winner so they vote for one of the top two candidates. Since your vote does not matter, there is no reason to spend it on such a stupid ideal. It is much better to vote for what you believe in than to vote so you can win. Especially since things may actually change for the better if everyone starts voting their ideals and your ideals are part of the majority opinion. I would doubt that the average voter could even name more than 2 third parties, much less say what they stand for. If you do not know what the third parties stand for, how do you know they do not represent your opinion? A very large number of voters are not pleased with either the democrats or republicans yet they do not even make an attempt to see if there is someone that better represents them. They either pick the lesser of two evils (e.g. the choice between airline food and hospital food) or they do not vote. Neither choice is intelligent, but the latter is less unwise. At the very least, they could vote for the least of 10 evils (or however many parties are listed on their ballot). I am not asking people to perform complicated research, merely know what each party listed on their ballot stands for. Ideally you would even know about the parties that did not make it to the ballot in your state, but you should at least know what the big third parties are about. If that is too much to ask, then don’t vote. As it is now, the few that do their homework (and are thus prepared to vote) are completely overshadowed by the masses of ignorant voters that think that all those other names on the ballot that are not democrats and republicans are just there to confuse them.

If you honestly agree more with the Democrats or Republicans more than any other party then go ahead and vote for them, but you owe it to yourself (and everyone else) to find out if this is the case. I have never understood how these two parties became so popular. On the one hand, you have the Democrats that believe that the federal government’s place is in your wallet, but not in your private life. On the other hand you have the Republicans that believe that the federal government’s place is not in your wallet (that is the job of state governments), but in your private life. I would think that the two parties would be one that thinks that the government should leave you be for the most part (Libertarians) and one that thinks that the government should regulate everything that you do (though I can see how this would be unpopular). Oh well, perhaps one of you can show me the errors in my thoughts so I can live a happy life as a member of the ignorant mass.

see, with these kinds of jumps in logic (banning skiing and skate boarding, forced abortions(come on, really), or lack of abotions) I can understand why the government feels the need to legislate common sense, it seems to be in short supply these days.

And about the insurance thing, why do you know why helmets (for motorcycle riding) are so bloody expensive in the US? WHY? Because the parents of little Johnny feel the need to sue the manufacturer of the helmet (he had strapped on to the back of his bike) when he ran into that brick wall at 45mph and ended up in a wheelchair.

Life is a series of calculated risks. If you want to ski, skateboard, rock climb, etc you assume certain risks, and shouldn’t you take all of the safety measures you can? If people took more responsibility for themselves and didn’t act like crying four year olds every time they got into a bit of trouble. (waaa, I’m gonna sue you, waaa)The government wouldn’t feel the need to make such laws.

And do you think that the auto manufacturers are putting those air bags in all new cars out of the goodness of their hearts? Do you think they really care about your safely? No way, they have been forced to by the government. And so the price of a new automobile goes up…

And another thing. People think that driving is a “right”. Hello? Its a privilege. If you don’t like the rules DON’T DRIVE!

should we be moving this discussion to the BBQ pit?

People who advocate an authoritarian government always imagine the government will mandate what they see as necessary and logical. After an authoritarian government is installed a very few take charge and the rest are surprised that they are being told to do something they don’t like. A lot of they people who helped Castro, Hitler, or Lenin gain power, ended up being shot.

Those who advocate authoritarian governments always imagine themselves in power, not the guys who disagree with them.

To anyone who believes the government should be telling you what you should or should not do with respect to something I always say, imagine your opponents are the ones in power, would you really want them to have that power?

You say you think the government should tell us what to do because you see people disagree with you? Be careful beacuse you might find those people in power using all that power against you.

You want religion taught in school? Now imagine it is not your religion but somebody else’s.

Some people just see things from their own perspective (this should be legislated, this should not) but they do not seem to understand that other people have different ideas and that society needs a coherent set of rules.

In eatern countries with authoritarian governments, the rule is the common good (as defined by those who rule) comes before the individual. In western countries with democratic forms of government, the general philosophy is that the individual comes first and the government can only infringe on his freedom of there is a very compelling reason of public policy.

I am all in favor of safety and would ask everybody in my car to put on their belts but I am not in favor of the government mandating it.

again, big jump here.
I want to know who is against people wearing seat belts.
But I’m sure you can find many people who would be against religion in school.

I guess some people hate to be told what to do, no matter how good it is for them.
Is that it?

>> I want to know who is against people wearing seat belts

Well, so far in this thread, everybody but yourself. Many people, I for one, are against being forced to wear seatbelts. I am all in favor of wearing seatbelts out of my own free will and common sense but I respect the rights of others to not wear them if they think they have a good reason.

Motorcycle helmets have already been mentioned and I also believe in the freedom to use one or not. I have had motorcycles for many years. On the open road I believe they are not much in the way but in city traffic I feel a helmet would contribute to causing an accident. The helmet covers my ears and slightly blinds my side view. I feel this causes me to lose hearing and peripheral vision which I need in city traffic where I have to be aware of the cars at my sides. On the open road I do not feel this need so much. Now, this is just me. Maybe others feel they should ear a helmet in city traffic, but my feeling is that it would likely be a contributing factor in causing an accident. In fact, I have been involved in a couple of accidents where I could say wearing a helmet was a contributing factor by restricting my awareness of my surroundings. I just feel I should have the freedom to decide this without the government telling what I should do because they do not know what is best for me better than I do.

I have heard of people who feel claustrophobic with seat belts. I don’t but they do and I do not see how I should be telling them what they should do. If a person feels claustrophobic or uneasy wearing a seatbelt, she might be better without it. She probably knows better than me or the government.

My theory is very simple: I know how to run my own life better that the government so all I ask is that they leave me alone unless they have a damn good reason to tell me what to do. I do not believe they have such a compelling reason to mandate the use of seat belts.

Am I in favor of seatbelts? Absolutely. Am I in favor of mandating their use? NO.

If I assume the risks, that’s my perogative. My level of safety measures should be entirely up to me. It sounds like you’d like to take that responsibility for me upon yourself. I don’t need you governing my actions so that you’ll feel better about my safety.

Regarding your last post,
Uhhhh… am I reading that right? Are you insinuating that religion in school is good for me and if I’m against it I’m ignorant and you need to protect me from that individual choice as well? Your delusions of knowing what’s best for me and your misperceived right to protect me from myself really don’t jive with what this country was founded on. Maybe you ought to consider those travel suggestions mentioned earlier. On second thought, it wouldn’t be safe for you out on those cruel streets, I’m confining you to house arrest.

If I’m overlooking your sarcasm I apologize, but your stance seems sincere. I don’t care how genuine your concern for my well being is, your desires to keep me safe should not infringe upon my individual liberties.

Yeah I know driving is a privilidge not a right, but the Supreme Court of the USA just gave the cops the power to haul you off to jail for a citation whose maximum penalty is only a fine. You notice how that slow-boiled frog theory applies here? Slippery slope, whatever the Great Debaters call it. We let the government tell us we had to wear a seatbelt or we would pay a ticket. Now they’re throwing citizens in jail for it despite the fact that level of punishment was not deemed necessary by the legislators whom we elected to write our laws. Not to go off on a rant here, but those five ‘appointed’ justices seem to be confusing their job with that of my ‘elected’ legislative branch. We let them shift the entire balance of power during our last election, now they think they have free reign.

But ya know what, in most states (and most countries outside the US) you ARE required to wear a seatbelt by law.
I win. And in reality noone is “forcing” you to wear your seatbelt. If you choose to not wear your seatbelt, you not only run the risk of serious injury, but also a fine.

But I think the issue we are meant to be debating is that you should be arrested (not just fined) if you don’t wear your seatbelt. The law itself is not in question. Aha just posed the logic of the severity of the punishment. And since that IS the topic, I agree that arrest is a bit over the top for someone who isn’t wearing their seatbelt. But maybe someone who is caught repeatedly should have to perform community servce at a hospital. Maybe they might see just what happens when you don’t wear your seatbelt.

and wow, Sailor you got some amazing peripheral vision.

See, we accepted the stupid law to begin with , that was our first mistake. But they made it seem harmless, just a fine. Then some cop stepped over the line and hauled a lady off to jail for not wearing her seat belt, just skipped the whole legislative and judicial branch all together. And last week the Supreme court backed them up. That’s totally fucked. The system of checks and balances has fallen apart.

I was just going to post that!
The board was down for a minute while I was trying to post it! I hate that.
I was just trying to communicate in that previous post that none of us are saying that safety (ie. wearing sealtbelts) is bad (right?) but some people might think that religion in schools is bad. I’m not saying that religion in schools is good OR bad. That’s a different thread.

>> Sailor you got some amazing peripheral vision

No, but I can tell you have never worn an integral motorcycle helmet or you would know better.

>> the law itself is not in question

Well, speak for yourself, everybody else in this thread seems to question it.

You seem to be missing the logic of what everybody else is saying. From your posts I was assuming you were some school kid but I see you are married. I have to say I am not impressed with the level of your reasoning skills so far in this thread. But that’s just me.

Anyway, I guess I’ve expressed my opinion on this issue. Better get to something useful.