forcing you to do what’s good for you.

Interesting factoid, and a short object lesson on government-mandated common sense:

Massachusetts has a mandatory seatbelt use law.

Massachusetts has a 67% seatbelt use rate.

New Hampshire has no mandatory seat belt law for adults.

New Hampshire has a 69% seatbelt use rate.

(Details here.  If you read the Comments section of that article, I will not be held responsible for blown cerebral gaskets.)

I use a seatbelt every time I get into my car, even though my home state is not threatening me with fines if I don’t.  I use a seatbelt because I am not a moron.

Once I start riding again, I will use a helmet and protective gear, just like I always have, even though my home state is not forcing me to wear a brain bucket.  Again, I use a helmet because I am not a freakin’ moron.

I must not be alone in my voluntary application of common sense, because 69% of my fellow New Hampshireites don’t need the threat of a guy with a badge writing a $40 ticket to buckle up before pulling out of the driveway.

By the way, there’s an interesting glimpse into the future buried in the comments on that article.  One of the proponents of the mandatory seatbelt laws cites the public cost for treating injuries as a valid reason for such a law.  If you think that argument will end at seat belt use once we have that glorious national health care system, think again.  Treating diabetes and obesity costs money, so the state will have a right to tell you what you can and can’t put into your gullet, and how much you ought to be exercising.  A mandatory public health care system is a universal adapter for unlimited Nanny State legislation, because there’s very little personal behavior that wouldn’t impact public health care costs in some way.

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32 thoughts on “forcing you to do what’s good for you.

  1. But but but… That man with a gun is supposed to MAKE them wear seatbelts!!! It says so right there in the state statutes!

    I wonder how many people always wear a seatbelt just because it’s the law vs wearing a seatbelt some of the time because it’s the law?

  2. Rick in NY says:

    Well, as we all know, LEAD is hazardous to your health, handling it may impact your health, so you won’t be able to cast your own bullets or reload your own ammo anymore because it’s dangerous to you. Of course, you could just wash your hands after casting or reloading and be just as safe, but why take the chance that you’ll forget to do that?

    We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

  3. First off- I get your point, & agree- we don’t need any more laws to protect us from ourselves. Sadly, that is exactly what gov’t mandated health care will do for us.

    However, I am chafed at your phrase “because I am not a freakin’ moron.”

    I often choose to not use a seatbelt; when I was riding I never (unless it was wicked cold) used a skidlid. So, I’m a moron?
    No, I chose those actions because I am free to make those decisions for myself.
    If you argue it is more dangerous to drive/ride in the above manner, I guess I would agree. But it is also much more dangerous to drive in a vehicle at all rather than to stay home- get everything delivered, it’s much safer.

    Those who sacrifice liberty for security…

    ::rant off::

    • Desertrat says:

      When you choose to put yourself into avoidable danger, for that period of time you are indeed acting like a freaking moron. You are merely hoping you can survive that condition. You are claiming 100% odds in your favor that a car or deer will not suddenly appear in front of your motorcycle, for instance.

      Sure, it’s important to have the freedom to be moronic if one so wishes, but that does not void, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

      Art

      • Matt says:

        Actually, I agree with doubletrouble on the helmet issue despite the fact I always wore one when I rode.

        While I may think going lidless is foolish, it is not my place to impose my views and choices on others. As long as the people who make those choices understand and accept the consequences of them freely and DO NOT DEMAND that something be done to help them after the fact.

        If you ride without a lid, scatter your brains across 100 feet of pavement, don’t expect the government to come to your widow’s rescue. That’s all I want.

        Strangely, insurance studies have found that the costs of treating helmeted vs. lidless riders after an accident/mishap are about the same. Helmeted riders tend to survive more accidents but tend to suffer more long-term injuries such as neck problems or none at all. Lidless riders tend to die more but when they do survive, their injuries tend to be minor so overall, the costs tend to equal out. Funeral costs + minor injury treats = fewer minor injuries + long term problems.

        I used to be on the bandwagon of forcing riders to wear helmets. I changed that opinion on both liberty and “cost to society” grounds since private insurance demonstrated that it didn’t matter one way or the other except to the family of the rider. And it wasn’t up to them to make decisions on their behalf.

    • Tam says:

      I occasionally act like a frickin’ moron, but when I do, it doesn’t bother me to own the term. ;)

  4. vinnie says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me that forcing someone to tie themselves to a chair is not depriving them of liberty! That would change my love life in so many ways!!!

  5. staghounds says:

    But who is it that doesn’t wear seat belts? people who are also otherwise stupid, according to this study.

    I’m so stealing “Universal Adapter”.

    Aren’t your arms tired from hitting these out of the park?

  6. Sherm says:

    Here in Montana we don’t have helmet laws or primary offense seat belt laws. We do have a lot of single vehicle accident fatalities. It is a virtual certainty that the victims in these fatal accidents were not wearing seat belts and were thrown from the vehicle. Anyone who reads the paper and doesn’t figure out seat belts are a better idea is not paying very close attention.

    • Adam says:

      I don’t think anyone here is denying that they’re a better idea. We just object to anyone telling us we *have* to do it. If I, of my own volition, decide not to wear a seatbelt and end up looking like a dropped lasagna on the road, that’s my own problem.

  7. MarkHB says:

    Hm. Is it idiocy to take an unnecessary risk? To leave a safety device unused just for the hell of it doesn’t make sense to me. Kind of like owning a gun, and leaving it at home when you go out, it’s not gonna do you any good when you need it if it’s not ready.

    Then again, I smoke. I know I’m a bloody idiot for doing so. Does this mean I agree with smoking bans? No. Because it’s my damned problem to deal with as best I can. What, the Gubment’s gonna fine me every time I light up? What other antisocial things will they want to fine me for? Universal Adaptors, indeed.

  8. [...] at the Munchkin Wrangler we have this about government mandated bull crap. [...]

  9. Joe Allen says:

    I see this excuse for legislation/taxation all the time: “It’s needed to reduce the burden on the state of healing all the people who did whateveritis!”

    Has anyone actually produced hard numbers? “In Fiscal Year 2005 1200 people visited the ER without insurance for seatbelt preventable vehicular mishaps at a total cost to the taxpayers of this state of $1,212,654.13.”

  10. Don Gwinn says:

    In Illinois, we have “primary enforcement” of seat belt laws, meaning police officers can and do stand on the street corner waiting for someone to drive by without a seat belt on.

    In Illinois, we do not have a mandatory helmet law for motorcycles. This is because motorcyclists banded together under ABATE and loudly said that they wouldn’t accept a helmet law. Cagers did not do the same with regard to seat belts, so we got another law on the books. As near as I can tell, our experience has been the same as Massachusetts’: it’s stupid not to wear a seatbelt, and it’s stupid to say you want Americans to do more of something and then pass law after law trying to force them to do it. People who would otherwise wear the seatbelt will risk death out of pure spite and orneriness. Should they do that?

    Well, from a utilitarian point of view, it doesn’t matter. They do it.

  11. Matt says:

    I can’t wait to see what happens when someone suggests through Marko’s “universal adapter” of health care that it is more cost-effective to let 80 years not have hip replacements, heart surgery, cancer treatment and so on because it would be cheaper to treat them as chronic/hospice and just let them die. Why spend $250,000 on a surgery that the person may not even survive and if they do, let’s them live a year or two longer? How many younger people can we help in preventive care with that money?

    When that happens, watch the AARP turn on Congress like a bunch of rabid wolverines on LSD. Suddenly that universal health care isn’t looking so hot.

    It will be supported by those who don’t think will be affected by the policy decisions they’re abdicating and then they’ll be rudely shocked when they find out the cost savings measures they supported suddenly also apply to them. Then it won’t be so funny and by then too late to turn back the clock.

    Such is the path we are headed down if the current administration and a blind Congress get their way. I left that system behind. I’d prefer not to become part of it again.

  12. Jay G. says:

    See, the way I look at it re: helmets is this.

    If I want to be safe, I’ll drive my 3 ton truck. If I get on my 750 pound motorcycle, I’m already saying “to hell with safe”.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t take all prudent precautions, mind you. When possible, I wear as much safety gear as I can comfortably bear – in the middle of summer, in 90º heat, full leathers and a full-face is too damned hot. But in mid-spring, or late fall, hell yeah.

    But once you go down the rabbit hole of “It’s not safe to____”, all is lost.

    Life ain’t safe. Life is a sexually transmitted, terminal disease. Ain’t none of us get out alive anyways…

    • Mike says:

      Get a mesh jacket. I ride in 100+ degree heat here in Texas daily, and have to tell you that I find a full-face to be very comfortable. Whenever I start picking up speed, it actually feels cooler to close the shield on my helmet.

  13. Matt says:

    I’m in agreement with you, Jay. For me, armored boots, leather pants, armored mesh, armored gloves and full face was my summer riding gear. In well over 90 degrees because I subscribed to the theory that water was cheaper than skin grafts. But that was my personal comfort zone to help mitigate some serious injury, not prevent it.

    I had no illusions about what would happen if I went down or got hit. There was no way to avoid getting hurt. It was simply a matter of degree. It was a risk I accepted and managed in my own way. I didn’t need some law to tell me what to do or dictate that I had to wear gear X to save society some nebulous amount of money.

    I defend my choice just as much as I’ll defend the choice of a squid and his girlfriend to blow down the road wearing jeans, full face, sneakers and a tank top. That kind of road rash has to hurt. Yup, face will look good. Too bad about the rest of you, assuming you survive. Same goes for riders in jeans, chaps, unzipped leather jacket and no lid.

    Just live (or not) with the consequences of your choice. I don’t need or want the state to “help”.

  14. My hubby is a copper and can spot someone not wearing their seat belt with his eagle eye from anywhere. Even when we’re driving in our civie car. It’s annoying. And a stupid law. (Yes we live in a state where he can now pull people over for NOT wearing one.)

    However, he has found that the people who don’t bother wearing them are usually slime balls (not always, don’t get me wrong) … and he almost always ends up finding drugs or someone driving without a license or someone who needs to be hauled in for a warrant.

    Again…stupid people.

    Even as a teenager I wouldn’t start my car until all my passengers had their seat belts on. I wouldn’t even be allowed to drive with passengers now a days … it’s illegal until you’re 18 or so. Stupid state.

  15. Regolith says:

    They can have my cinnamon roll when they pry it from my cold, dead, flabby hands.

    (What? Somebody had to say it…)

    RE: Seatbelts…

    In Nevada, not wearing a seatbelt used to be a secondary offense; i.e., they couldn’t pull you over and ticket you for it unless you were breaking some other law, like speeding. Then the fed.gov got involved, and threatened to yank highway funding unless they made it a primary offense. Can’t tell that it’s made any damn bit of difference.

  16. huh…a little off the safety-by-legislative-fiat topic, but based on your past comments i’m guessing you’d be surprised by this:

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourCar/where-are-americas-safest-drivers.aspx

    chattanooga at no. 3 and k-ville at no. 5 on the safest drivers list? who’da thunk it?

    jtc

  17. emdfl says:

    Mandatory seatbelt laws are nothing more or less then revenue generating laws. The state could care less whether you live or die because you were or weren’t wearing your seatbelt. Other then the effect that your death might have on the other tax revenue that you pay.

  18. OrangeNeckInNY says:

    If not wearing a seat belt or a helmet affects only me, ultimately, who is it really going to hurt?

    We’re losing personal choice and liberty for what? So insurance companies can continue to dictate what we can and cannot do?

    I personally prepare my meats and veggies for cooking with a cleaver. The risks for cutting myself or severing a finger that required medical attention just went up. Are the insurance companies going to dictate that we’re all going to have to wear kevlar gloves while cutting?

    Lots of shit has happened to the public, imposed by insurance companies, and people don’t even realize it. We’re losing our personal freedoms of choice, all at the whim of the insurance companies and backed by big government and an ignorant public who thinks that you should live your life according to what they think or how they feel.

  19. [...] at Marko’s: Massachusetts has a mandatory seatbelt use [...]

  20. mpk19 says:

    Just be stupid on your own property. I don’t want to have to see your mangled body during an accident or your brain damaged one afterward!

  21. johnnyreb™ says:

    I generally wear a half-helmet on the rare occasions that i do ride anywhere more than acoupla miles from home. Seatbelts never bothered me till the shoulder belt was incorporated into it. Now i just loathe the damn things.

    I’ve been in two heavy truck accidents where a seatbelt would have killed me …

  22. Mike says:

    I love when seat belt law proponents (AKA “Dumbasses”) bring up “but the cost of it!” The slam-dunk counter-argument? Car insurance.

  23. Windy Wilson says:

    I used to be conscientous about wearing the seatbelt, even before it was complusory in Commifornia. After I had an accident while wearing the belt, I became religious about wearing it, and could not even back into the garage without buckling up first.
    An interesting thing about the California compulsory seatbelt law. It had to be voted on by the voteres at first, and its proponents said that it would not be used as a reason to stop someone, only as an additional thing once the person was stopped. This lasted about 3 years and then it became (I don’t remember how it was managed) a valid reason to stop some one. Function creep strikes again!

  24. MarkHB says:

    Windy, freep like that can just be as much ’cause new LEOs aren’t bothering to learn the law properly as because of legislative creep.

    I solemnly wish that all LEOs were of the stripe of LawDog, or Matt or even Area Trace who used to blog before his own government declared him some kind of liability. Good folk, who if they had cause to deal with me would, I’m sure, have a good and legal reason to. However, most police will never think they can have enough powers. Whether “For Good”, to prevent harm of the innocents, or just for the good old standbye of liking having power over folk.

    Cops are a design with internally growing freep, same as Government, and all you can really to in this day and age is to keep ‘em under such a tight, broadband-streaming eye as to keep ‘em in line, just like any other person you give a badge and a gun to. *shrugs*

    Don’t get me wrong. Cops are good things to have. People such as those I’ve mentioned I believe are the salt of the earth, folk I’d sincerely like to by a beer or n for where n is of a nonbounded set. But their rarity does make ‘em gems, in my experience, and my experience isn’t anything special.

  25. [...] “A mandatory public health care system is a universal adapter for unlimited Nanny State legislation, because there’s very little personal behavior that wouldn’t impact public health care costs in some way.” – Marko Kloos [...]

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