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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Your view: Law opposed

Monday, May 23, 2005

1. While the use of a seat belt has saved some people in certain kinds of traffic accidents, there is ample proof that in other kinds, some people have been more seriously injured and even killed only because of seat belt use. In the latter case, such injuries and deaths are not given the same degree of publicity, if any, as given when people are supposedly saved by seat belt use. Such bias in compiling traffic accident data exaggerates the so-called benefit of seat belt laws which misleads the public into thinking that seat belt use automatically means safety; non-use automatically means death in all kinds of accidents, which is false.

2. In spite of the fact the government is forcing the use of a device that can be injurious and even lethal in certain situations, the government refuses to be held financially responsible for such injuries or deaths. Instead, the government expects the injured or survivors of those killed to obtain financial satisfaction from their own savings, or insurance, or by suing the auto makers.

3. There is ample proof that some people in certain kinds of traffic accidents have survived only because a seat belt was not used -- injured, perhaps, but not dead. Such persons, by law, are subject to a citation and a fine for not dying in the accident using a so-called safety device arbitrarily chosen by politicians. Data on such traffic accidents only reflect one more injury without using a seat belt, which exaggerates the so-called benefit of such laws.

3. If a person is killed while using a seat belt, law supporters claim the accident was so severe, not even a seat belt could have saved the person. Actually, that might be true in some cases, but the severity of an accident is never a factor in compiling a list of persons killed while not using a seat belt, which, again, adds to the bias in traffic accident data in support of seat belt laws.

4. Evidence of seat belt use increasing injuries or causing a person's death in certain kinds of traffic accidents is well documented in the hundreds of successful lawsuits filed against the auto makers since the advent of seat belt laws in 1985. Court ordered settlements and punitive damage awards forced the auto makers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to the injured or survivors of those killed as a result of the failure of the seat belt to save as promised. Some lawsuits were settled out of court which sealed the evidence of seat belt design defects from the public, including other lawyers with similar cases.

5. There is a body of law that states a person has the right to refuse any personal health care device, drug, treatment, or surgery, even if such refusal might result in an earlier death or an increase in medical expenses. All seat belt laws, therefore, violate a person's right to freely choose to use or not to use a "health care" seat belt harness. Any medical professional attempting to do the same would be prosecuted, yet politicians claim they can ignore the law while demanding strict compliance from the private sector.

PRIMARY ENFORCEMENT STATES

The insidious nature of seat belt laws is shown even further in states with primary enforcement of the law. The following is what can happen in states with primary enforcement:

1. Your vehicle can be stopped anytime, day or night, by the police merely under suspicion a seat belt is not being used. And even if mistaken, once the vehicle is stopped the officer can begin routine interrogation and testing -- force occupants to exit -- visually check out the contents of the inside of the vehicle looking for any kind of a violation of the law, all without the right of legal counsel; all under the pretense of not using a seat belt.

2. Primary enforcement is an easy way to enhance state revenue through fines. Also, additional income comes from the federal government in the form of grants to pay the police to enforce the seat belt law. Such grants are used by the police as overtime pay while enforcing the seat belt law, which is why the police support primary enforcement laws. Also, such lucrative overtime pay helps relieve pressure for a police salary increase. And in some areas where job performance standards include a citation quota, seat belt violations offers easy compliance.

3. Some insurance companies target seat belt violations as an excuse to increase rates even for drivers without an accident record, yet there is no proven correlation between non-seat belt use causing accidents. In fact, even if you habitually use a seat belt but forget just once, that might be the time an officer stops your vehicle, thus your driving record is unjustly marred.

4. Some states level points against a driver's license for not using a seat belt in addition to a fine, which means a person is being punished twice for the same offense, another violation of the Constitution. Also, it means a driver's license could eventually be suspended for repeated offenses even if the driver has been a careful driver for years with no accident or traffic violation.

5. It should be noted, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency, in a 1995 study: Safety Belt Use Law -- An Evaluation of Primary Enforcement and Other Provisions, stated "The analysis suggests that belt use among fatally injured occupants was at least 15 percent higher in states with primary enforcement laws."

6. Primary enforcement is promoted as saving lives, however, stopping vehicles for non-seat belt use is only an excuse to arbitrarily and capriciously accuse people of traffic violations of one kind or another, thus issuing citations as a means of easily increasing revenue, as well as providing easy lucrative overtime income for the police. Primary enforcement has nothing to do with saving lives; has all to do with revenue enhancement at the expense of fleecing the motoring public.

CONCLUSION

Politicians have no authority to willingly and knowingly force some people to maim and kill themselves in certain kinds of traffic accidents using a so-

called safety device, a seat belt harness, just because they hope others will be saved in other kinds of accidents merely by chance. The Constitution forbids the government from taking chances with a person's body, the ultimate private property, unless due process is first initiated. The government has no right to play Russian roulette with a person's life.

There certainly is nothing wrong with voluntary seat belt use, as it is with all other kinds of individual personal health care recommendations in life; however, there is a great deal wrong with all state mandatory seat belt harness laws.

In a free society, if a person is injured or killed in a traffic accident because he/she freely chooses to use or not to use a seat belt, that is a personal tragedy, as it is with all other kinds of freely chosen risks in life. That is freedom working. However, if a person is injured or killed in a traffic accident because the government forced that person to use a certain device against his/her will, that is tyranny working, and reflects injury and death by government. All state mandatory seat belt harness laws, therefore, must be repealed in order to restore true freedom and constitutional law in the U.S.

The fact is, we would never tolerate a law that would give any doctor the power to send the police to our homes, unannounced, to check to see if we are following the doctor's health care guidelines or orders, such as taking our medicine, eating a proper diet, or exercising daily, and if the officer found we were violating any of the doctor's health care orders, by that law, the officer would issue a ticket. But that is exactly what has happens daily on our highways in tolerating seat belt laws, whereby the police, unannounced, stop our privately owned auto to see if we are using a health care seat belt harness, a device arbitrarily chosen by politicians, and if not, issue a ticket. With the Supreme Court on the side of tyranny in supporting police harassment of motorists at will, in issuing tickets, arresting and jailing people for not using a seat belt, a victimless, state created crime, the only power left to restore true freedom in the U.S. is the ballot box. Voters must make it clear at every political rally, as well as by personally contacting politicians (often), that they will not support any candidate for office who does not openly oppose seat belt laws and work for repeal of such laws if elected.

J.J. Reese

New Madrid Missouri