Archive for Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Letter: Tougher law

March 19, 2013


To the editor:

I read with consternation the March 12 article, “Seat belt enforcement a priority at schools.” The bulk of it focused on the grievously high mortality rate among teenagers not wearing seat belts (nearly three out of four) and the Kansas Highway Patrol’s “annual two-week enforcement effort” that spans the spring break period.

No doubt those numbers contributed to the almost-as-high mortality rate among the general population of motorists not wearing seat belts (nearly two out of three), but one could be forgiven for leaping to the conclusion that about 50 percent of fatalities among nonteenage motorists are associated with failure to wear seat belts.

I’ve worn a seat belt and insisted all others in my car do so, ever since I owned my first car. My cousin and his fiancée were thrown beltless from their car and killed by a drunken driver in front of her home early on Christmas morning of 1964.

I’ve recently returned to Kansas after 15 years along the Gulf Coast, in states that have taken “Click It or Ticket” seriously. In Florida, particularly, the fine to the driver is $150 for each person in the car who isn’t wearing a seat belt, regardless of front seat or back, regardless of any other violation.

Kansas needs a law with some teeth in it ($10 fine; are you kidding me?!) and law enforcement that does more than pay lip service to this issue for just two weeks a year, instead of gumming violators into compliance.


Dan Eyler 4 years, 5 months ago

Wow 150 buck fine that should teach them. I don't think so. Not wearing a seat belt isn't a crime. It might not be a bright idea but not a crime. The reason Kansas made the fine so low was to keep communities from making their law enforcement focus on seat belts rather than red lights, robbery, theft and other far more important law enforcement issues. We can also pass laws so you can't drink 32oz sodas, or eat at McDonald's, but I say we side with individual freedom. Seatbelts make good sense but are we really going turn those who don't into criminals?

Jonathan Becker 4 years, 5 months ago

I understand kansasfaithful does not subscribe to enterprise liability, but why should KF or I have to pay for the ambulance that transports the unbelted passenger ejected from a crash vehicle? Why should KF and I have to pay for the fire truck and crew that have to wash down the remains of the unbelted passenger ejected from a crash vehicle. And finally, why should KF and I have to pay for the extraordinary medical care that tried to save the life of the unbelted passenger ejected? Do we get to pay because we believe in some kind of absolute individual freedom? I would take a little less freedom and shift the social costs to the person with a lack of good sense.

colicole81 4 years, 5 months ago

Why would you assume that because someone doesn't wear a seat belt that you would be paying their medical bill? Most medical bills following an accident are payed by medical or car insurance. Insurance that is normally purchased by the car owner or the patient. Even without insurance most people are responsible for their own bills. Not wearing a seat belt is a personal choice, similar to smoking, drinking, eating fast food etc. It may not be smart or safe but it's not a crime.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 5 months ago

Just because it's paid for through insurance doesn't mean that we aren't all eventually picking up the tab.

colicole81 4 years, 5 months ago

Well that would be a result of our crap medical system not the result of whether someone wore their seat belt :)

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