The federal seat-belt-law mandate was the result of a 1980s deal between Reagan-era Transportation secretary Elizabeth Dole (proof, long before Mayor Bloomberg, that nanny-state tendencies transcend partisan labels) and Detroit automakers, who calculated that regulating their customers would help stave off regulating their own design decisions. And now?
Yep, a Big Govt politician turned bureaucrat conspired with Big Biz cronies to get a result THEY wanted – via regulation. Not by our elected leaders. So far, NH has said “screw you” and resisted the siren call to make it mandatory for adults to click in when car traveling. That’s even after the Feds offered the State “free money” to help out with the budget with the strings attached that it had to force its residents to wear seatbelts – if I remember right, the bribe to do it the Feds’ way was about $3.65 / person. Cheap, eh, the offer to strip that decision from adults to protect themselves or not?
Sure, I agree, a decision that could be literally Live or Die – an important one if you’re on the wrong side of the statistics in a crash. But frankly, NH has made the right decision – why should it be the purview of Government to do so (even though I have to admit, NH has done other idiotic actions to make children of us all (who, btw, are subject to mandatory seatbelt laws here in NH – again sending the message that adults who are also parents don’t care about their kids).
For those that keep sneering that “it’s such a little thing to require, it keeps you safe, and it costs you nothing”, I say screw you and you think wrongly. There have been ramifications to the law that was once one that was supposed to be about lives and now has turned, again, to be about money and government:
Less individual liberty, more scope for police discretion, and in some states a taste for revenue: “In California, a single seat-belt violation can be as much as $490.” [Radley Balko] Earlier on mandatory seat belt usage laws here, here (“saturation detail” police stops), here, etc. (“doggie seat belt” laws), here(Germany: Pope in Popemobile), here, and here (England: Santa’s sleigh), among others.
Go ahead now, realizing the unintended consequences of an abuse by government by an action of government that, in my opinion, was an overreach as the above shows the willingness of Government to severely fine its citizens for failure to take care of themselves. This is the government we wanted at our founding?