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March 26, 2009

Seat-belt laws restrain freedom

The Star’s editorial “Time to buckle up” (3/14, Opinion) endorses a change to Missouri House Bill 90 that would allow law enforcement to stop motorists solely for failing to buckle up. The editorial claims that studies have shown changing the law would save an estimated 90 lives per year and would increase road safety without encouraging racial profiling. Does the writer believe that all drivers pulled over and interrogated for no reason make reports to the state Department of Transportation for record?

I don’t encourage drivers to disregard seat-belt laws, which logically increase the safety of passengers in most accidents, but I also don’t promote house bills that would diminish the freedom of adults to make their own decisions.

To make a difference in passenger safety in Missouri, perhaps write an editorial encouraging a bill that would seat-belt the hundreds of thousands of children who ride school buses daily.

Safety is not the real objective for the enhancement of Bill 90.

Greg Hand
Lee’s Summit

Comments

bud 25

Sounds like a real conspiracy theory to me. They're taking your right to make your own choice and it give the police to much power! Next thing you know big brother is using the camera on you computer to spy on you.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Jayhawk what do you think about trigger locks?

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Safety is always used as a smoke screen, Granted most of do not want unsafe vehhicle and uninsured drivers on the road but let's not fool ourselves. An example would be that having 3 or 4 beers hardly impairs most people regradless of the bogus "research" yet the cities, counties and States have no issue with the tax revenue the rake in from booze sales. If safety were so important why not just outlaw booze? Actually come to think of it why not outlaw automobiles, they are extremely dangerous and kill many every year. Another really screwed up aspect of driving is the central gestapo being able to take someone's DL away for non drving related "violations". Tell me government is not there to create revenue and power for itself.

Marctnts

"We must fear central government taking our rights away!"

And yeah, I think that the degradation of personal liberties AND states rights at the hand of the federal government is something to be concerned about.

Marctnts

Jayhawk,

I don't believe that either the letter or my post have a "shy is falling" tone to them, but I think they do point out the fallacy of the "it's about safety" argument. Heck, even your post focused on two non-safety-related issues (money and insurance violators).

That's my issue. Everyone with a cause uses the "what about the children" or "it's a safety issue" arguments when they want to stir things up. How about a little reasoned consideration of the REAL issues behind a proposal instead of always hiding behind emotional rhetoric?

JayhawkinMO

The sky is falling!! We must fear central government taking our rights away!! Baloney. 27 states already have primary laws for seat belt use; 22 have secondary laws. If MO can get more transportation funding by passing a primary law, then do it! When operating any vehicle on our roads, I believe in full compliance with the law. Driving is a privilege, not a right. We must be licensed and our cars certified as safe. We must prove financial responsibility with insurance. If the police can stop someone for not wearing a seat belt and then discover the jerk doesn't have insurance, I want the dude off the road...

Marctnts

"Safety is not the real objective for the enhancement of Bill 90."

I've got to agree. It appears the real goals of Bill 90 are two-fold:

1. Money. Changing Missouri's seat-belt law to a primary offense will increase the stream of federal dollars flowing in to the state, as right now Missouri loses federal transportation dollars that require states to adopt a primary violation policy. This, of course, opens the debate of the federal government's carrot-and-stick approach to compliance with federal desires and the right of the federal government to use state taxpayer's own dollars as a negotiating ploy.

2. Increased police power. Create a law that allows officers to greatly increase the number of vehicles they have a right to stop, and thus greatly increases the powers they can exercise once stopped (search, seizure, etc.), and you have effectively increased police power and the revenue streams associated.

 
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