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March 01, 2011

Seat belts save lives

I am disappointed in legislators who would limit a seat belt fine to $5 or impose no fine at all (2/19, A1, “Kansas deems $5 fine just fine”).

This isn’t about appeasing voters who are so ignorant or arrogant that they take the risk of injuring themselves by failing to use safety devices. This law is most often about keeping one citizen from injuring or killing another.

It’s the kids in those cars that the seat belt law protects from their clueless parents’ disregard for safety. Teens do not yet appreciate the risks that serious seat belt laws protect.

How many children must die and how many teens will be left in wheelchairs before legislators can grasp the idea that seat belt laws with meaningful penalties do save lives and reduce injuries? It will take both significant fines and aggressive enforcement to convince some to buckle up.

Let’s thank the police for doing their job and insist the legislators start doing theirs.

Thomas O. Baker
Kansas City


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