Saturday, September 08, 2007

Seatbelt Laws and Personal Choice

This is stolen from http://www.veritasrex.com/ but it was so good I really wanted to share:

"A very interesting analysis of seat belt laws and fatality statistics comes to us from Kenn Gividen. Interestingly, New Hampshire is the only state that does not require adults to wear seat belts, and yet their traffic fatality rate is lower than the national average.

• Fatality Rate per 100M VMT (Vehicle Miles Travelled):

New Hampshire: 1.24
National Avg: 1.45
Indiana: 1.31

• Fatality Rate per 100K Population

New Hampshire: 12.67
National Avg: 14.66
Indiana: 14.96

According to Mr. Gividen, big bucks from the federal coffers are being given to states to enforce seat belt laws and to promote highway safety. That is clearly not the solution.

"Of the eighteen states that have had primary enforcement seat belt laws since 1991: Fatality rates per 100,000 VMT were higher or equal to the national average in eight of these states. Fatality rates per 100,000 population were higher than the national average in nine of these states."

This can be quite an emotional issue to discuss, but it does make you wonder how neccesary these measures are for the citizens of Indiana. Choosing not to wear a seat belt may not be a smart move, but shouldn't it be my decision?

11 comments:

Tim Zank said...

Jennifer, Of course it should be your decision, but because of the overwhelmingly prevalent lack of personal responsibility (fostered by pandering politicians) it won't be your decision.

We have allowed our entire culture to sign on to the "take care of me, I can't take care of myself" mantra. Absolutely NOTHING is anyones own fault anymore, there is always some else to blame and hold responsible for everything.

I don't know that we can reverse this trend of the cradle to grave nannyism, it may very well be too late.

Kody Tinnel said...

Tim, I find myself agreeing with you a lot. You are a smart man. Your posts are always precisely stated and filled with common sense.

It really is sad how much the common people depend on the government to tell them how to live their lives. It is ridiculous. This is not the America that the founding fathers were hoping for.

Tim Zank said...

Thanks Kody. I believe this country was founded on self-reliance and personal responsibility.

AmericanWhiteGuy said...

Here's my quote of the day:

"If we didn't have stupid people we wouldn't have stupid laws."

Anonymous said...

I always wear my seatbelt, whether I'm driving across the state or to the corner grocery store.

That being said, I have two friends who were unbuckled and involved in traffic accidents who were told by rescue paramedics that they would have died if they had been wearing their seatbelts.

That being said, I like my chances better when I'm wearing a seatbelt. But shouldn't that be my choice? Should my friends have been forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to advance some greater good?

If there were a pill developed that 75% of the time would do nothing, 23% of the time it would prevent cancer, and 2% of the time it would kill you, should the government force you to take it? Or should it be your informed decision?

Robert Enders said...

It is more dangerous to ride a motorcycle with a helmet than it is to ride in a car without airbags and without a seltbelt. But this state still allows motorcyclists to ride without a helmet.
The insurance lobby is behind this. Insurance companies love motorcyclists because they don't cause the other driver much damage in an accident. At the same time, they HATE paying for the medical bills of accident victims who would have had only minor injuries if they had been wearing a seatbelt.
While I oppose laws that require adults to wear their seatbelts, I don't blame these companies for being upset over paying for people's stupidity. A couple years ago, the General Assembly considered (but did not pass) a bill that would have allowed insurance companies to cover the damages that a claimaint would have suffered had they be wearing a seatbelt. I think it is fair that insurance companies be held liable only for the damages suffered by a claimant using reasonable precautions. A seatbelt is a reasonable precaution.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with that only if when someone died because they wore a seatbelt, then the insurance company would compensate for a wrongful death. It has to cut both ways.

Robert Enders said...

Yes. If you die BECAUSE of a reasonable precaution, your family should still be paid.

Seatbelts save more lives than they kill. But there are many people who sincerely think that they are safer without a seatbelt. They are more likely to start wearing their seatbelts if they feel that it is their decision to make and they conclude that they are safer wearing seatbelts.

Robert said...

• Fatality Rate per 100M VMT (Vehicle Miles Travelled):

New Hampshire: 1.24
National Avg: 1.45
Indiana: 1.31

• Fatality Rate per 100K Population

New Hampshire: 12.67
National Avg: 14.66
Indiana: 14.96

While I agree with the Libertarian concept of personal choice and that our elected officials have once again overstepped their authority ...I am unconvinced that the statistics shown above prove much of anything.

NH is a very small state with a unique topography and a different population density than say Indiana.

Mark Twain tells us: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

Anonymous said...

Statistically speaking, if I have one foot in a bucket of ice water and one foot in an oven, I should be comfortable.

Endiana.com said...

Robert,

The statics transcend New Hampshire.

Of the eighteen states that have had primary enforcement seat belt laws since 1991: Fatality rates per 100,000 VMT were higher or equal to the national average in eight of these states. Fatality rates per 100,000 population were higher than the national average in nine of these states.

All things considering, the effectiveness of seatbelts is negligable. But even if they were effective, do we need nanny governemnt telling us how to live our lives? I think not.

See state-by-state statistics here:
http://endiana.blogspot.com/2007/09/no-seat-belt-law-make-new-hampshire.html