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Have you ever been fined for not wearing your seat belt?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on February 26, 2007

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Photo of Liz Koepp

“No, because I usually wear it. And when I didn’t wear it, back when I was in my late teens and early 20s, I never got pulled over.”

Photo of Buck Bradley

“No. I never have, but I have had to put it on as I was getting pulled over.”

Photo of Sean Galloway

“No. I’ve been pulled over without it on, but he just warned me that he could give me a ticket.”

Photo of Jennifer Beach

“No. They turn on the lights, and I put it on real quick.”


Kuku_Kansas 11 years, 1 month ago

Never. I can honestly say that I can not drive or ride in a car unless my seat belt is on.

Not sure why. It's not as though my parents were over-bearing about it growing up either. It's just automatic for me I suppose.

southerngirl 11 years, 1 month ago

No, my parents used to tell me that the starter in the car didn't work until all seat belts on the car were on. It just became a habit.


Noemon 11 years, 1 month ago

My parents told me the same thing, southerngirl!

trinity 11 years, 1 month ago

buck bradley, you rule! :) (signed, an ol' ottawan that knows your family etc)

nope never had a seat belt, speeding, etc fine; although i likely should have! :)

Linda Endicott 11 years, 1 month ago

Paladin, the law says that anyone in the car (front seat, anyway) can be fined for not wearing their seat belt. You don't have to be driving. Passengers can also be fined.

I always wear mine. Basically it's habit now, and I don't want to have to pay a fine.

But I don't know that I agree with the law. Maybe people who wear seat belts are less likely to die in an accident; I don't know. There was a person in my family who only survived an accident because they weren't wearing their seat belt and were thrown clear of the vehicle.

Go figure. Fate is fickle.

Tom McCune 11 years, 1 month ago

I find it odd that we are so emphatic about requiring belts and airbags but then allow sun/moon roofs. Try buying an upscale car these days without a moon roof. It's almost impossible. In THEORY moon roofs are options, but every upscale car on the lot has one these days and you must special-order some models to get NO moon roof.

In a rollover I want a metal roof over my head, not a hole. The last time I bought a car I wanted a Volvo, but couldn't get it without the stupid moon roof. Bought a Mazda instead. Saved lots of money and got a real roof.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 1 month ago

Nope. All my fines have been for collisions. No speeding tickets or seat belt violations on my record.

And after the way my car was totaled last year, I won't be forgetting to use the seat belt anytime soon.

Flap Doodle 11 years, 1 month ago

No, but I got a ticket in Nebraska for square dancing in a round house.

jonas 11 years, 1 month ago

I've got a helmet and a bodysuit. I'm trying to become a projectile.

paladin 11 years, 1 month ago

I only wear the seat belt when I'm driving and I don't drive, so I don't wear the seatbelt at all. Never been fined. But, it could happen if they invent a fine for wearing your seatbelt, or not, while not driving. They might just, the way things are going.

kansasbrandon 11 years, 1 month ago

The laws requiring the use of seatbelts are unconstitutional.

In a free society people should have the right to do as they please so long as what they are doing doesn't infringe on another person's rights.

How does my not wearing a seat belt have anything to do with anyone but me?

This is nothing more than the Government assuming a parental role over it's citizins.

Yes, wearing seatbelts saves lives, but it's not the governments job to make people wear them. Just like it's not the governments job to make you wear sunscreen before you go to the beach. Sunscreen saves lives too. Should the government make laws requiring it's use or face a $60 fine?

mom_of_three 11 years, 1 month ago

As a kid, it wasn't required and we didn't. As I have gotten older, and our kids were in car seats, we started to wear seat belts. We always did on long trips, but not necessarily in the city. Now, since our cars make awful noises if you don't, it is a habit.
I realize it is a safety device, but on Pywacket's line of thought, I am shorter than her, and the seat belts NEVER are comfortable. They always hit me in the neck. I sometimes wonder if I would be choked in an accident, because of the seatbelt fit. Some automakers do have some adjustments devices in the car, but as a shorter person, you wonder why there aren't more offered.
But NO, I have never received a ticket for a not wearing a seat belt

paladin 11 years, 1 month ago

Violators are bad. They will be fined and scorned and rebuked and, someday maybe, be banished from the kingdom to some island in the Caribbean. Maybe they'll call it Bush's Island. The French used to have one. And, I don't think the French wear seat belts at all. Or chastity belts, neither. We should bring those things back and fine the girls who dare not to wear them.

Ceallach 11 years, 1 month ago

No ticket, no warning, I always buckle up. My luck, if I were in a wreck without my belt, I would probably survive and spend the remainder of my days like a mound of pate.

snappy_pop: you gotta watch those Herbies, as you apparently have learned, they take their square dancing quite seriously :)

What a totally inappropriate quote for a bus driver to give the local newspaper . . .

Kat Christian 11 years, 1 month ago

Always wear my seatbelt - it saved my life once when I was hit from behind. Anyone who thinks they are ammune to getting hurt not wear one is delusional. They are the best things, besides airbag ever put in a car. I don't start the engine unless everyone in my car is buckled up and I won't ride in a car that doesn't have working seat belts.

EireishHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

The French have a Bush's Island? Where might that be located?

RonBurgandy 11 years, 1 month ago

I enjoy life, therefore, I always wear my seatbelt.

I just don't understand why anyone would chance not wearing one...

justthefacts 11 years, 1 month ago

I have had two teen-aged relatives die b/c they were in horrible car wrecks and weren't wearing a seat belt; no guarantees of safety, I know, but getting thrown from a car is usually a real bad thing. I always put my belt on, and make sure the whole car is buckled up. And the argument that doing something that could result in you killing yourself only impacts you personally shows a lack of appreciation for the amount of havoc a death can have upon all concerned AND society = e.g. who pays for the funeral, who pays for the road clean up, who pays the salary of the cops who work the scene, who pays for the mental health therapy needed for the EMS workers who had to scrap you up afterwards, etc.?

As much as I also dislike "big-brother" "in parentis locos" rules, and appreciate stupid gene pool erradication efforts, most laws that attempt to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public - even for those folks who don't appreciate the effort - are deemed constitutional.

gbulldog 11 years, 1 month ago

Do you know of anyone who has died because they did not have their seatbelt on? I do. And I still miss him after 40 years. I wonder what he would have accomplished if he had taken the time to buckle his belt. Maybe he would have created something that you would find very important in our life today.

His passenger, who had her seatbelt on, suffered minor injuries. The car suffered minor damages. However he was thrown out of the car and broke his neck. Maybe he would not have lost control of his car if he would have had his seat belt on.

People complain about violating their rights when you require seatbelt use. What about the rights of family, friends, coworkers, innocent victums, etc. How about the persons who have to clean up the results and prepare his body for burial. Do they not also rights????

paladin 11 years, 1 month ago

Devil's Island, like that. I do think road cleanup is an important consideration.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 1 month ago

I feel naked w/out my seatbelt so don't drive w/out it. (Kind of like leaving the house and forgetting to put on a watch in the days before cell phones.) My children also "remind" me if I'm not buckled up. Thing is, I like to back out of the garage unbuckled and then buckle up. Knowing this, they still "remind" me.

As a "petite woman" of 5'2", I just drive with the seat adjusted to full height, and as far back as I can get and still reach the pedals. My youngest child will probably be in a booster seat until middle school.

good_friend_of_bill 11 years, 1 month ago

A highway patrolman put it like this: "I've never had to unbuckle a dead person"

"No, we let the EMS workers do that."

sunflower_sue 11 years, 1 month ago

Many eons ago, when I was in HS, seat belts were not required but they were just starting to push thier use. We had a patrolman come to the classroom. He asked us all about how fast we thought we could run. (Certainly not faster than a relatively slow moving car.) Then he asked if we thought we could run as fast as we could towards a wall and put out our arms and stop ourselves from hitting the wall. I always wondered if anyone actually tried it, or if, like me, they just started to wear their seatbelts.

Janet Lowther 11 years, 1 month ago

The first thing I have to do to prepare for interaction with a LEO in the car is TAKE MY SEATBELT OFF. I can't get at the pocket my driver's license lives in while the seatbelt is secured.

kansasbrandon 11 years, 1 month ago

People seem to be missunderstanding my argument. I'm not saying seatbelts are bad. Seatbelts are very good and it is a really good idea to use one.

All I am saying is it not the government's place to require the use of a seatbelt.

The argument that it costs society more money if people don't wear seatbelts isn't logical.

Last I checked the death rate is still somewhere around 100%. Everyone will at some point die and at when they do there will be pain and anguish and burdens felt by others. The burdens placed on individuals and society because of failed health and death will always exsist. There is no way around this fact. There is no way to regulate death out of the human experience.

mom_of_three 11 years, 1 month ago

Several years back, my husband and kids were t-boned. Both cars were going under 30 mph, so only my car sustained any major damage. But my kids who were wearing seatbelts in the back seat( and were not required to be in car seats) sustained rub burns and bruises from the seatbelt. The bruises and burns were enough for the officer to call the paramedics to check it out, just in case. No, it wasn't a serious injury, but I still wonder what kind of injury I might receive if I am ever hit at a higher speed.
I am 5'2, and in my current vehicle, I can't raise the seats as I could in my old van.
I know they have some kind of seat belt adjusters for car seats so kids aren't hit in the face with seat belts. Just wish something like that could be made for short adults.
And if they do, somebody please tell me!

Ceallach 11 years, 1 month ago

Being thrown from the car is not the only factor to be considered. A belted driver remains in control of their vehicle longer than an unbelted driver who is being thrown across the front seat or out through the windshield.

Brandon it is true, the 100% death rate cannot be regulated out of the human experience, but the death rate for drivers and passengers can be lowered by using seat belts. The driver that is holding the steering wheel as he/she slides across the seat is definitely a danger to pedestrians and other vehicles alike.

justthefacts 11 years, 1 month ago

Brandon - I did not misunderstand your argument. You feel the government was/is acting unconstitutionally in adopting a law to require (and/or fine people) wearing seat belts. You argue that people have a right to not wear them and/or harm themselves.

I agree with anyone who objects to governmental interference into private lives and choices. I would prefer those who are too dumb (or depressed) to protect themelves might just be better off gone. I also believe the enforceability problem exists, big time. However, there is no constitutional right to drive, let alone to drive without a seat belt. So if the legislature wants to enact this law, they probably can (legally). And the argument that dying because you didn't wear a seat belt costs no one but the person who didn't wear one is equally flawed. If you can show where no one but the non-seat-belt-wearer suffers a loss as a result of that choice (monetary or otherwise), more power to you!

And for the record, both of my teenaged relatives were taught to wear belts, but ignored that rule (they were alone) and both would have survived (per the Highway Patrol officers who worked the scene) had they worn a belt. There are exceptions to every rule, of course. But the odds of being killed wearing a belt are far lower then if you wear one.

beatrice 11 years, 1 month ago

TOB, I agree that the awards show was fairly dull and could have been handled much more quickly. And Pan's Labyrinth should have won for best foreign language film. I still enjoyed it and will most likely watch next year. As I said before, it is a guilty pleasure and the only award show I watch.

No to ever being fined, and Yes to always wearing a seat belt. It just makes sense.

kb: Have you also never heard of how medical costs for the uninsured are a burden to the rest of society?

Bone777 11 years, 1 month ago

If I am wearing pants, I will wear a seatbelt.

Otherwise, it pulls my body hair...

beatrice 11 years, 1 month ago

Yet nothing pulls body hair quite like road rash.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't often agree with Marion - that bus driver should go.

budwhysir 11 years, 1 month ago

The seatbelt law is one of those laws that is hard to enforce. They should make this law more strict and it would be easier to enforce

Linda Aikins 11 years, 1 month ago

I find it unbelievable that the bus driver would do that, let alone SAY that! Only in Topeka.....

I always wear my seat belt.

OW, Bea!

CindiCat 11 years, 1 month ago

After reading all the posts; some pretty good......what was the question again?? Oh ya........No, I have never been given a fine for NOT wearing a seatbelt. I always wear one.

To the "bus driver" in Topeka!!!! OH....MY......GOSH.

I will go out on a limb here and figure that your answer to the question is regarding when you are driving your OWN vehicle and NOT the school bus.

I am sure glad that not only are you NOT in my home town but, that you do not drive my granddaughter's school bus.

Harry_Manback 11 years, 1 month ago

Passengers get fined for not wearing their seatbelts also!

Also, if they're going to fine people the fine should be higher than the $15 or $20 it is now. That doesn't even mean anything, and they can't even give it unless the driver was committing a moving violation.

I always wear my seat belt though. My good friend died in a car accident and was wearing one though, so it doesn't always guarantee anything. But, I'll never forget those idiots I've known that CUT the seat belts out of their cars. What are they thinking?

Although, I must say that I'm surprised to hear so many people say they don't wear their seat belts. Why not?

Bone777 11 years, 1 month ago

School buses don't have seat belts for the passengers.

Stop judging her!!! She might not be wearing pants.

Crossfire 11 years, 1 month ago

Yes... Stopped while wearing seat belt... Took it off to get DL... Got ticketed... Dismissed by prosecuter... Weird huh.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 11 years, 1 month ago

Nothing more tyrannical than the traffic laws. There are so many now they can stop you anytime they want. We need to repeal about 90% of this nanny state silliness.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 1 month ago

"School buses don't have seat belts for the passengers." Excellent point, Bone! I'd personally like to see the school districts get ticketed for every child not properly a bus, that is.

gccs14r 11 years, 1 month ago

The concern is that the little buggers won't be able to free themselves in an accident. If that's what they're worried about, maybe they should use crash bars similar to what are used on roller coasters, instead.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 11 years, 1 month ago

This is sticking their nose in the tent. Next time out they'll claim that the cops are confused and are stopping people who aren't in that age category and that they need to make it mandatory for everyone.

Get out of our lives and mind your own business.

rodneyking 11 years, 1 month ago

"Fined?" That was the easy part. Let me tell you something; when you see those red flashing lights in your mirror, pull over get out and lay face down.

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