Archive for Monday, May 3, 2010

Seat belt stall

House leaders already have used revenue from a primary seat belt law to balance their budget proposals. Now they need to get the law passed.

May 3, 2010


In his remarks welcoming the Kansas Legislature back to work last week, Gov. Mark Parkinson reminded lawmakers of a common-sense measure that still is awaiting legislative approval: passage of a primary seat belt law.

There are two strong benefits from the law Parkinson recommended in his State of the State address. It not only would strengthen seat belt enforcement in the state, it also would add $11 million in much-needed federal funds to state coffers. About $1 million of that would be reserved for highway projects, but the other $10 million could go into the state general fund to help offset the $500 million budget shortfall.

Kansas motorists already are required to wear seat belts, but officers can only enforce that law as a secondary offense meaning drivers can only be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt if they are pulled over for some other infraction. Passing a primary seat belt law would allow officers to pull over and ticket drivers simply because they are not wearing a seat belt.

Although it’s a relatively minor change that already has been passed by the Kansas Senate, the measure is hung up in the Kansas House Transportation Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Gary Hayzlett, reportedly isn’t allowing it to move forward. The roadblock Hayzlett, a Republican from Lakin, is creating is particularly odd because the $11 million in federal revenue that would result from the seat belt law is included in the “no-tax” budget proposals put forth by the House leadership. It seems House Speaker Mike O’Neal would be able to exercise the necessary influence to get this bill out of committee and onto the House floor.

The state’s current negotiations will require many difficult choices. The primary seat belt law is not one of them. It provides additional incentive for Kansans to wear their seat belts and brings the state $11 million in new revenue. House leaders need to break the logjam and get this bill moving to the governor’s desk.


Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years, 1 month ago

Kudos to those who oppose this needless intrusion into our lives. You can bet it will be used by racist cops across the state to hassle minorities. The worst part is that they think we're so stupid that we don't know where the 11 million dollars comes from. This is money that comes from the taxpayers anyway. Truly pathetic, take our money to buy legislators to take our freedom.

BigPrune 8 years, 1 month ago

That's something I'll be thinking about after I visit a tanning salon and have to pay a 10% whitey sales tax so I don't get fried on my Mexico trip. Thanks.

staff04 8 years, 1 month ago

Easy enough--don't wear the seatbelt and consider it a user fee.

WilburM 8 years, 1 month ago

Uh, freedom. To increase injuries and death, thus increasing the costs for everyone? That's right, paying the $11 mil might actually save money in the long run, to say nothing of suffering and fatalities. Driving isn't a right; it is regulated by the state. To be sure the feds are bribing us with $11M. As opposed to other fed $$ that we might refuse (ag subsidies, law enforcement) that also reduces our freedoms?

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

An air bag will not help you at all in the case of a rollover accident. The windows smash, and if you're not ejected and quite likely crushed to death, you're going to be impacting other areas of the vehicle.

I've been in a rollover accident (I was not the driver), and only got minor scratches on my wrists. Later, when the insurance adjuster inspected the wreckage, she was surprised that there were no deaths or injuries on that highway rollover - at 65 mph. (I had my seat belt on, of course.)

And yes, seat belts on school busses are a good idea. But, they are rather safe because people do tend to drive very carefully around school busses, knowing that a fender bender with a school bus quickly becomes national news. But for sure, getting kids in the habit of wearing a seat belt early would be a good idea.

And yes on the cell phones. I don't make or take calls when driving if at all possible.

Kat Christian 8 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. Our freedom is being slowly eroded. I mean how long before we become inward communist states?
Seat belt checks Driver's license check point checks Work IDs Immigration IDs No smoking in cars No selling of bottle water (unless bottle reusable) No horn beeping No this, no that - anyone want to add to this?

Randall Barnes 8 years, 1 month ago

In 2006, 49% of persons killed in crashes were wearing seat belts.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago

The editorialist wants the government to further police personal responsibility while empowering law enforcement to issue more fines to you and me.


Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

There's nothing like the feeling of relief that you feel when you're seated and unhurt inside a crashed and totalled out car, because you had your seat belt on.

I would recommend that wonderful feeling of relief and joy to anyone who thinks that wearing a seat belt is an optional thing.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 1 month ago

In 2006, 49% of persons killed in crashes were wearing seat belts.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Since obviously you don't think your life is worth very much, I won't argue with you.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Beat ya. I started driving in the fields when I was 4, about 51 years ago. The cattle needed to be fed, and my Dad needed me to drive the pickup in the fields.

I'm not quite to the point of needing a rubber floor to get out of a bathtub yet, but the day is coming.

RoeDapple 8 years, 1 month ago

There's an old saying in my neck of the woods, "The first liar never stands a chance!" I started driving at 9 years old, 1957. 53 years ago! (who's next?)

tomatogrower 8 years, 1 month ago

Anyone who refuses to wear seat belts should sign a waiver. If they are injured in a serious accident, doctors can refuse to assist you, and just let you die, so that you won't become a burden and an expense to society. And they must carry double the life insurance, so their dependents will not have to become a burden to society. This will free you from your responsibilities to your community, and I'm sure you wouldn't want to be free of the responsibility to anyone in your family, thus the insurance. So are you willing to do this, so you don't have to wrinkle your clothes?

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Really. And they even make you drive on the right hand side of the road.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 1 month ago

30 states have primary seat belt laws.

None of them have experienced the sky is falling problems laid out by the nay-sayers on this thread.

Give me real data and real examples every time. Until the story tellers on this thread can do that, I say the primary seat belt law makes sense.

Some of the "primary" laws we have in Kansas - a broken tail light or turn signal, littering, having your lights on when your windshield wipers are on. I wonder, have these laws been used by racist cops? Have they led to massive government intrusion into "personal" choices?

We all pay for those who do not wear seat belts. The higher health care and insurance costs that result from unbelted drivers and passengers involved in crashes get passed along to everyone. For example, the costs of hospital care for an unbelted driver are 50 percent higher than those for a driver who was wearing a safety belt. Society bears 85 percent of those costs, not the individuals involved.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

That's the most well reasoned argument on this thread!

But, I think that the only people who will ever really "get it" are the people like me who have had the experience of a terrific highway crash - with a seat belt on.

And isn't it amazing that there's no problem getting everyone to wear their seatbelt when taking off or landing in a jet aircraft? If there's ever a time when a seat belt is really not necessary, that's it.

It's the "perceived risk" thing - since most people drive literally decades between accidents, they think they are rare. Fatal car crashes simply do not make the news the way the very, very rare aircraft accidents do. So some people always wear their seatbelts to take off or land in a jet because they are afraid not to, but they just don't feel that way in their car while they are actually in danger.

Seat belt usage is actually a sociological issue that future generations will find very interesting to study.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

I think that it's amazing that on this whole thread (considering the comments), that no one has even once complained about the legal requirement to restrain a child in a vehicle.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago

The primary enforcement laws Bob mentions directly impact other drivers. Seat belt laws, on the other hand, are designed to protect me from myself. No thanks.

And every time someone uses "higher health care costs" as a reason to further restrict our freedom, we should fear that the next logical step. Guys like Bob would love to see bans on skiing, skateboarding, skydiving, swimming and every other behavior that has even a smidgen of risk built into it. Then again, maybe Bob only wants new laws for those activities which increase the size of government coffers.

Which is it, Bob? Government protection from every risk associated with living - or only from those risks which can turn a profit for Uncle Sam?

whats_going_on 8 years, 1 month ago

no one ever said there was a ban on driving.

And since you're so sure that there are no laws regarding safety and doing such things, this is a law in Colorado for skiing.

"(6) Each ski or snowboard used by a skier while skiing shall be equipped with a strap or other device capable of stopping the ski or snowboard should the ski or snowboard become unattached from the skier."

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago

The law you reference protects other skiers from my runaway ski. It doesn't require them to wear helmets, the skier's equivalent to a seat belt.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

"Seat belt laws, on the other hand, are designed to protect me from myself."

And to protect you from the other drivers that might accidentally crash into your car.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago

Ron, I absolutely do not want the government forcing me to protect myself from other drivers.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Sounds great! Because an insurance company doesn't have to pay nearly as much if you are killed rather than simply maimed for life and confined to a wheelchair. That keeps insurance rates down.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Failure to wear a seat belt contributes to more fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior. 63% of people killed in accidents are not wearing seat belts. Wearing a seat belt use is still the single most effective thing we can do to save lives and reduce injuries on America's roadways.

Seat belts are the most effective safety devices in vehicles today, estimated to save 9,500 lives each year. Yet only 68 percent of the motor vehicle occupants are buckled. In 1996, more than 60 percent of the occupants killed in fatal crashes were unrestrained.

If 90 percent of Americans buckle up, we will prevent more than 5,500 deaths and 132,000 injuries annually. From:

According to a research report from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, seatbelts save approximately 13,000 lives in the United States each year. Furthermore, the NHTSA estimates that 7,000 U.S. car accident fatalities would have been avoided if the victims had been wearing belts. From:

Randall Barnes 8 years, 1 month ago

i agree i do not wear my seat many deaths occour each year where the driver WAS wearing a seatbelt ? it has no affect on the way i operate a motor vehicle just another way for the gov't to try and tell me what to is my life and if i choose to take that risk it should be up to me and no one else.dark roast or decaf cola or diet fries or a salad get the start writing me tickets.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Getting tickets is a good way to get your car insurance company to jack up your rates. And for a very good reason - you're far more likely to make a medical claim if you don't wear a seat belt.

Personally, I don't want to pay any more for car insurance than I already do.

whats_going_on 8 years, 1 month ago


Pretty silly that people are so worried about sticking it to the government that they'll completely ignore the fact that if they do get in an accident with no seatbelt, they'll end up having to pay more.

Irony for the win.

tomatogrower 8 years, 1 month ago

And if you were paralyzed instead of dead, you would expect the government to take care of you. And you would expect them to take care of your family. The government is suppose to stay out of your life unless you do stupid things and hurt yourself.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 1 month ago

i have a DNR so i would not be on life support because EVERYTHING happens for a car wreck the person is buckled up only a small dent in the bumper and the person dies,the next accident the person is not buckled up and the car is smashed up and walks away without a scratch. hmmmmmm never have figured that one out well yes i have because everything happens for a reason.

mom_of_three 8 years, 1 month ago

I didn't use to wear seatbelts until a good friend of mine was killed in an accident where a seatbelt could have saved their life. Now, I wear it because I want to, and not because someone tells me to.
BUT I also think of it this way - I (and i imagine other parents) told their kids to put on seat belts to keep them safe when they were younger. I want them to stay safe, and if it takes a law to remind them now that they are driving, then so be it. Do you not put your kid in the car seat because the government makes you? Seatbelts do not interfere with my daily life, they don't cause undo stress and they aren't nowadays, an uncomfortable contraption.

avoice 8 years, 1 month ago

Instead of arguing whether or not primary seat belt laws are appropriate, how about someone questioning whether this will actually result in $11 million revenue? The travesty here, as far as I can see, is that $11 million of our state budget is prefaced on the assumption that this law will generate $11 million in revenue. Unless the $11 million is the amount of federal funding that will be guaranteed from our state's new seat belt law, I think this is yet another example of counting chickens before they hatch. Another recent example: Planning a budget that included casino revenues that never materialized.

And if the $11 million is the projected revenue from tickets that are anticipated to be issued, then it is very troubling to think that our State develops "business plans," complete with "sales projections," around laws such as this one and taxes such as those on cigarettes and sodas. Imagining our legislators looking over such a plan and voting yea or nay based on the potential revenue is enough to make one cringe. The potentially dire results of such a plan failing to become a "business success" after being counted into the State budget is enough to make one's blood boil.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

If and/or when the car insurance companies jump on the bandwagon, there won't be any $11 million dollars. All they have to do is jack up insurance rates on ticketed drivers, which they already do anyway. Any excuse to raise rates is a good reason, is pretty much how they think, I would just bet.

Once it starts costing you an extra $50 to $75 a month to NOT wear your seat belt, I think it's going to change a lot of minds.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 1 month ago

I was an inconsistent belt user until I heard a PSA from a Highway Patrolman who said "in 20 years I've never seen a dead body have to be unbuckled from a car".

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

She was only one of 39,800 people killed in car accidents in 2008.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 1 month ago

In 2006, 49% of persons killed in crashes were wearing seat belts.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

Without knowing the percentage of people using seat belts this statistic doesn't mean much. (even if it is true)

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

He posted that exact same thing three times, and never cited a source. We should congratulate him on knowing how to cut and paste.

jafs 8 years, 1 month ago

If it only affects the individual who's not wearing the seat belt, they can make whatever choice they like, as far as I'm concerned.

However, if they have children and are killed or maimed in an accident, that would definitely affect their children and/or spouses, don't you think?

And even single people have families that care about them and that would be adversely affected if they were killed in an accident.

The list of personal choices that really only affect oneself is pretty short.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago


Holy cow. The implications of your worldview are enormous.

Using your criterion, the government has a right to regulate basically any activity.

When do you want to start collectivizing the farms and nationalizing the corporations?

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

The Federal government flat out owns all the roads and highways, so I think they can make the rules. Private property might be different.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago


The government owns nothing. You and I and our neighbors own everything that is not privately held.

We can do better than capitulation.

ivalueamerica 8 years, 1 month ago

it is simply fiscally responsible to have seatbelt laws.

Those that do not use seatbelts, by and large with some exceptions, either die or suffer greater injury.


I pay higher health care bills as they often are uninsured or underinsured and can not pay their cost.

I have to pay higher taxes to cover their disability insurance, or social security for their children, or section 8 housing if they leave behind family but not enough money to cover them, or if they are disabled, taxes and health care costs go up for me as well.

If you choose to be a moron, and think I am going to pay for it in the name of freedom, screw that. I have the freedom to tell you to use some common sense and if you do not, and I get stuck with the bill, you better be ready to pay the piper on some form. A seatbelt law actually SAVES us form becoming a nannystate by keeping all our bills lower.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago

Your first mistake is assuming the government should maintain its massive role in funding disability insurance, Social Security, Section 8 housing and health care.

Your next misstep is to suggest you can place restrictions on my ability to do things which do not directly harm you. Extrapolations are illegitmate, while six-degrees-of-separation-from-Kevin-Bacon arguments are irrational.

Is your next step to conclude that because alcohol can cause alcohol-related problems we should bring back Prohibition? It wouldn't bee too far a stretch for you to reach that conclusion, I imagine.

ivalueamerica 8 years, 1 month ago

what you say I think and what I really think are far apart, though your honest has never been in issue, you never are honest.

For example, Prohibition is not my answer to problems with drunks. liar. My answer to drunks, tax drink to cover the government costs of managing it and make it illegal to operate a vehicle while drunk, and make public drunkeness illegal. DONE.

...i could go on all day countering your lies with the truth...but then I would get nothing done.

However, I will leave you with this...if you can not make a point without making up a point, you are pointless.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago

A supposition on my part is not a lie.

Besides, I'm mearly pointing out what over-legislating, over-taxing and over-regulating can lead to.

ivalueamerica 8 years, 1 month ago

when you say things that are not true and then attack me on them, it makes you a liar, you can try and couch it in any term you want, but you are a fraud, a liar and have nothing legitimate to offer in any debate because honesty evades you.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago

Well, I'll remain tolerant of your views, regardless of how much you want to exclude my perspectives from the debate. I'll also refrain from calling you names, despite your insistence on doing as such.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

Worth repeating: “ 28 March 2009 at 6:40 p.m. beobachter (Anonymous) says… Ok, I'm done, you don't need to ban my account, I won't be back.” ;)

Jay Keffer 8 years, 1 month ago

Daily, sometimes multiple per day. reference to the vulgar slur of TB. Ongoing and rather strange.

Centerville 8 years, 1 month ago

Avoice: You're right on target. This isn't about seat belts, it's about making new laws to chase more printed money from the feds that my great grandchildren won't live long enough to pay off.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 1 month ago

Just a reminder - the government can regulate driving and all aspects that go with it because the government owns the roads.

Stop trying to equate what you do in the car with "personal choice." You aren't in your living room. You aren't hanging out at a restaurant or shopping center.

You and your car are on government owned property. If you don't like government intrusion, then stop using the government's property. I hear hermits live a relatively happy existence.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

I've been in a car that slid off the highway (65 mph) directly into a tree. Another time, the car slid off the road and rolled (again, 65 mph). Been rear ended twice. Once a driver ran a red light and smashed my car. Another time, a car pulled out directly in front of me and we collided.

Not once was I ever cited for being at fault.

I had my seat belt on every time. Other drivers and passengers that have had the same experiences but did not have their seat belts on are not alive to tell us what their opinions might be if they had another chance to take only 2 seconds to buckle up.

That's why I'm so opinionated on the subject.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, couldn't help it when I let a friend drive my car. Rear ended? what was I supposed to do? Other driver ran a red light and broadsided me? What to do? Another pulled out right in front of me! To late to stop!

OK granted, once I did slide on the ice when I was 20.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

P.S. It was nice to collect from the other driver's insurance.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

That's already covered, if you're cited for enough accidents, you will lose your license.But I have never been cited for an accident, every time save once the other driver was, though. The only exception was when I hit the ice and skidded off the highway. There was no citation issued for that.

Liberty275 8 years, 1 month ago

I've rolled cars and hit trees and been rear-ended without wearing seatbelts and I'm alive to tell about it. I guess we're even.

I do wear seatbelts when I decide I need one. I reserve that right.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

I've never heard anyone bragging so much about losing control of a car that many times. True, I did skid on the ice and off the highway once, but I hardly think of it as something to brag about.

There's two things I am somewhat proud of though. One is that I have never been considered to be at fault in an accident. And another, I was considered to be the very best driver Traveler's Limousine ever had.

Not one single customer ever complained about me or my driving. That was not true of any other driver they ever had. They were sorry to lose me.

IslandContributor 8 years, 1 month ago

Uh I live in a state with primary laws (Ga) and it feels good to know that the police can pull me over because they "dont know" if I am wearing a seatbelt or not... and trust me it happens more than you would think!

Liberty275 8 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for your concern mommy parkinson. Now buzz off.

Jonathan Becker 8 years, 1 month ago

I have been involved in two very serious auto collisions. In one where I got T-boned, I limped away because I wore my seat belt. The other driver was not so lucky. She was pronounced dead at the scene. In the other collision, I walked away from a totaled car; the other driver was ejected and wound up in the hospital for a very long time.

Hydra has the choice to not wear his seat belt, but there should be a penalty for his unreasoned ridiculous choice. A Primary seat belt law would be an appropriate balance between his freedom and his pocketbook.

As for the idiots in the legislature, one can only say, there stands proof that white man speaks with forked tongue.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 1 month ago

I, too, long for the freedom of the covered wagon. Why don't you try it out for a year and then report back?

Deja Coffin 8 years, 1 month ago

Do all buses.... school and public have seat belts for all passengers? If not, shouldn't they be required to provide seat belts. I know when I was in high school..... which was ten years ago, they didn't have seat belts on the bus but things may be different now so I was just curious.

Deja Coffin 8 years, 1 month ago

When they go on field trips, sporting events, etc. they often do highway driving so I think it should be required if it's a state law to wear one.

ralphralph 8 years, 1 month ago

Seat belts only help AFTER you wreck. Howzabout we enforce the laws that help PREVENT the wreck?

jafs 8 years, 1 month ago

STRS and others,

I'm pretty libertarian when it comes to personal choices.

However, I'm aware that we don't live in a bubble, and that many of our actions affect others.

Sorting that out is not easy, but either extreme seems wrong to me - either the "I can do whatever I want" folks, or the "Government should regulate all aspects of our lives" folks.

Particularly tricky to figure out are actions like driving without a seatbelt, which are dangerous, but not immediately harmful. Interestingly enough, driving drunk is similar - you haven't harmed anyone else by driving drunk if you haven't hit them yet. Do you think it should be legal to drive drunk?

The best solution to the dilemma would be for people to live with an awareness of how their actions affect others, and be mindful of that. If that happened, government wouldn't need to get involved at all.

Of course, many people seem to believe they live in some sort of isolated condition, and like to do whatever they want regardless of the effect on others.

jafs 8 years, 1 month ago

Many older cars don't have airbags - in fact, I've never owned a car that does.

What do you think about driving under the influence? If you haven't hit another car yet or run over a pedestrian, you haven't hurt anyone else yet. Should it be legal?

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