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Poll: What is your position on Keiper's arguments and what is your own seat belt use?
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What is your position on Keiper's arguments and what is your own seat belt use?

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Old 01-11-2005, 01:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
StangFlyer
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Thumbs down Seatbelt Laws...

This is an interesting before and after... What does everyone think? Read this, vote, and voice your opinions.



"Before" (notice the author and date)
Individual rights buckle under seat belt laws -
DEREK KIEPER
September 17, 2004
I’m from the school of thought where everyone should have the right to do as they please as long as they are not infringing on the rights of other people. This comes from the political philosophy that inspired our founders and freedoms.

The duty of government is nothing more than to make sure everyone’s rights are protected and not infringed upon. Uncle Sam is not here to regulate every facet of life no matter the consequences.

No law, or set of laws, has made the government more intrusive and ridiculous than seat belt legislation. Nothing is a bigger affront to the ideas of freedom, liberty, yada, yada, yada. Whether you are a pinko liberal or a right-wing whack job, there are plenty of reasons for just saying to hell with seat belt laws.

Democrats and Republicans alike should stand together to stop these laws that are incongruous with the ideals of both parties.

For Republicans, seat belt laws represent an enormous cost to the federal government. Perhaps the amount of money we spend on safety belts pails in comparison to our defense budget, but it still seems to be a ton of money to make a choice for a person.

The government budgets $13.4 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the U.S. Department of Transportation for educating the public about safety belt laws.

Remember the “Click It or Ticket” commercials you saw on TV this summer during the tourist season? Well, the government wasted millions on those ads to make sure you knew officer Joe Friendly was going to be pulling you over for not wearing your seat belt.

The government also dispenses $25 million in grants to local law enforcement to increase the usage rate of seat belts. Even the Lincoln Police Department got a grant to help enforce the safety belt laws – lucky us.

Most ridiculous, though, is the $100 million doled out to states that have primary seat belt laws – these are the laws that say you can be pulled over for simply not wearing your seat belt.

If one is doing the math, that is more than $138 million spent on seat belt laws. But the kicker is this: It is estimated, by researchers for Congress, that only 6,100 lives are saved per year because of new seat belt wearers. Moreover, the increase in the percentage of those who wear seat belts has leveled off.

As laws become increasingly strict for seat belts, fewer people will respond positively by buckling up in response to the laws. There seems to be a die-hard group of non-wearers out there who simply do not wish to buckle up no matter what the government does. I belong to this group.

For the states’ righters of the right, this legislation represents another attempt by the federal government to step on the toes of the states. Not only does the federal government currently fund grants to increase usage, but bills are being debated that would punish those states that did not have seat belt laws, by withholding funding – usurping the right of the state to decide its own safety laws.

What frightens me more about safety belt laws is the intrusion they represent to Americans. Democrats should take notice. Choice is an important aspect of freedom – choice to do as I see fit with my body and being.

Yet, the government has decided that I do not have the choice to drive around without my seat belt. It is my choice what type of safety precautions I take. It is ridiculous to legislate actions that have no immediate effect on other individuals.

Telling me to wear my seat belt is the same as making sure I have some sort of proper education before diving into a swimming pool. If I want to dive in without knowing how to swim, that is my right. And if I want to be the jerk that flirts with death and rides around with my seat belt off, I should be able to do that, too.

If we regulate decisions that are personal and deal with safety, we very soon may be confronted with a slippery slope of legislation. What is next? Helmet laws for walkers? Kneepad regulations for office government interns? Or perhaps some sort of mandate for protective headgear for golfers will hit the law books in the future.

What should be most scary for those who love freedom and privacy is the government’s consideration of a bill to punish all states that do not have primary seat belt laws.

Officers have enough reasons to pull us over in the first place. This just allows them to pull people over and give us citizens a good shakedown whenever we want. Does anyone else see a problem?

I’m sure college students would love to be pulled over and asked by the cops why they were not wearing their safety belt, and then maybe the police can catch a whiff of something – that may or may not be there – and searching ensues.

I can see now officers not being able to see your buckled belt as they pass you at night – because it is dark – so they pull you over to make sure. Simple enough, police do not need another reason to pull anyone over; they do it enough as it is.

All those who want the choice not to click have a few options. One is exempt with a doctor’s note, or if pregnant. Or you can move to New Hampshire, the only state without a seat belt law. New Hampshire might be my bastion of choice some day, but for now I am stuck in Nebraska.

I just wish we could keep the government out of our pocketbooks and out of our personal decisions.

"After" (notice the name of the obituary, and date, and cause of death)
I-80 crash claims UNL student's life
BY BUTCH MABIN / Lincoln Journal Star - January 11, 2005

Derek Kieper was a smart, funny, intense young man who relished a good debate and would do anything for his friends.



Kieper, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, died early Tuesday morning when the Ford Explorer he was a passenger in travelled off an icy section of Interstate 80 and rolled several times in a ditch. Kieper, who was riding in the back seat of the Explorer, was ejected from the vehicle.

Two others in the vehicle, including the driver, Luke Havermann of Ogallala, and the front-seat passenger, Nick Uphoff of Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, sustained non-life threatening injuries. Havermann and Uphoff, both 21, were being treated at BryanLGH Medical Center West.

The three men, members of the same UNL fraternity, were returning to Lincoln from San Antonio, Texas at the time of the accident, reported to authorities by a truck driver around 3 a.m.

"At this point in time, I'm in shock," Kieper's father, Paul Kieper, said in an interview Tuesday.

"He was a bright young boy, a 4.0," Paul Kieper said. "He loved to be silly. He loved to debate."

Paul Kieper said his son graduated from North Platte High School in 2002. When Derek Kieper came to Lincoln for college, the elder Kieper moved here, too.

Derek Kieper played on the defensive line for the North Platte High School football team, his father said. At UNL, Derek took on five majors — history, psychology, economics, sociology and political science — and had plans to attend law school.

Last year, Derek attended a summer program in economics at Oxford University in England.

"He loved it," Paul Kieper said. "It was his first time with travel abroad."

Kade Pittman, a friend of Derek since seventh grade, said Derek was a true friend.

"He'd do anything for anybody," he said. "He was really funny, extremely intelligent. He'd tutor me in classes he didn't even take."

Pittman said he last saw Derek shortly before Derek headed off to Texas for Christmas break.

"It's really tragic," Pittman said. "He's really going to be missed."

Capt. Joe Lefler of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office said Havermann was driving the Explorer east on the interstate near Northwest 48th Street when the vehicle went out of control on the ice-covered road. He said the vehicle travelled into the south ditch and rolled several times.

A truck driver headed in the same direction witnessed the accident and called 911, Lefler said. He said alcohol did not play a role in the accident, but he declined to discuss how fast the Explorer was travelling.

Derek, who was thrown from the vehicle, was not wearing a seat belt, Lefler said. He said Havermann and Uphoff were wearing seat belts at the time.

In a column written for the Daily Nebraskan in September, Derek attacked seat belt laws as intrusions on individual liberties and expensive to enforce.

"It is my choice what type of safety precautions I take," he wrote.

"There seems to be a die-hard group of non-wearers out there who simply do not wish to buckle up no matter what the government does. I belong to this group."

Erica Rogers, opinion page editor at the Daily Nebraskan, said Derek's brains and intensity would be missed. Kieper and Rogers had lively political debates, she said.

"He had a Republican focus on economic issues," she said. "He was aggressive. He was really intense.

"He was a very engaging student. I'm sure UNL will be at a loss."



URLs:
http://www.dailynebraskan.com/vnews/...d?in_archive=1
http://www.journalstar.com/articles/...9784029686.txt
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Old 01-11-2005, 02:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Post Re: Seatbelt Laws...

Derek Kieper raised valid points in his essay against seat belt laws. However, once the seatbelt law had been passed in my state, I obeyed it. Now, years later, wearing a seatbelt is as natural as breathing when I get behind the wheel of any car or I am a passenger in someone else's car. It's clear that seatbelts can save lives and Derek even montioned this in his essay. That the wearing of a seatbelt has become mandatory and enforced by law with fines for disobeying that law is what rankles some people. It's a two-edged sword: I wouldn't even wear a seatbelt if it wasn't a law - yet I am statistically safer in a car now because wearing a seatbelt is a law.

So, the law works as intended, just as speed liimit laws, auto safety laws, etc work to hold down speeding, unsafe vehicles and what have you. In that regard, it's a success and the nanny-state 'wins'. However, I still - even at this late date - resent being compelled by law to do something (that I know is a good idea) because I feel as if the seatbelt law infringes on my personal freedom to be reckless, which, truth be told, makes that position a bit hard to defend. Libertarians will condemn the seatbelt laws as unconstitutional but in reality, as they are state laws, the only thing 'unconstitutional' is the federal government using highway funds as a whip to get the states to comply with the seatbelt laws. That is unconstitutional. However, so is the income tax and thousands of other laws on the federal books. All were passed with the consent of the people through their elected representatives in congress. It's democracy and we allow ourselves to be constrained for the greater good. It doesn't always work out that way, but that's the theory. The seatbelt laws are here to stay, even though traffic fatalities keep dropping despite more and more cars on the roads every year. Maybe the fact that a majority of drivers now do wear seatbelts regularly is a factor in that drop in fatalities.

Derek Kieper became a traffic fatality statistic on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 when he died in a car crash where he was a passenger and was not wearing a seatbelt. Young Derek Kieper died practicing what he preached and his manifestation of that anti-seatbelt point of view may have contributed to his death at age 21. A high price to pay for alleged 'freedom' and one that I do not find worth the cost. Like Derek, I resent the seatbelt laws, too, but I continue to wear my seatbelt in the car. I can find a better and safer way to show my independence than risking my life and safety by refusing to wear a seatbelt. Too bad Derek Kieper, the debater and rugged individualist, couldn't have done the same. Too late now.
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Old 01-11-2005, 02:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

Cue Alanis Morisette...

I too hate the seatbelt laws, and would wear it even if the law wasn't there. I share a lot of the same views with Derek on the "freedom" side of things, although I think it is dumb not to wear one, from a personal safety standpoint.

I was once young(er) and dumb(er) and didn't always wear my belt. I got pulled over in the middle of rush-hour traffic on busy city street because a cop passed me going the other way and turned around to pull me over because he said he saw me without my belt on. Well, in turning around he almost caused a wreck because of the traffic, and as he had me pulled over, there was an accident right next to our vehicles, no doubt because people can't help from "rubber-necking" whenever they see some flashing lights!
I know the law will never go away, but I think it is total BS that they can pull you over just to check if your belt is on.

Oh and then there are the seatbelt checkpoints, talk about a total waste of time and taxpayers money.... don't get me started on that
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

A "heads up" from Ohio, I assume the laws are similar elsewhere, but who knows for sure. A friend of mine got pulled over and a subsequent seatbelt ticket. He was wearing his 5 point Simpson SFI race harness at the time. How can this be, you ask? Simple, according to the state highway patrol, that particular harnes is NOT "D.O.T." rated, and therefore doesn't count as a seatbelt.

Food for thought. Let's be careful out there.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

My family and I are alive and well because of seat belts, we rolled a Chevy truck on the interstate pulling a travel trailer. We skidded on the roof for God knows how far before coming to a stop. Not one of us was injured. If it weren't for seat belt laws, I never would have started wearing seat belts. Now I wear it religiously, and if you ride in my car you will too!
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

I too, agree that the governement needs to stay out of our lives as much as possible. With that being said, I have a big problem with people who dont wear their belts, and then collect on insurance when they are injured in a crash. In my dream world, an occupant of a car would be responsible for his or her medical bills should they be injured while NOT wearing a seatbelt.

Sounds like young Derek was a sharp kid. With all that sharpness, seemingly lacked common sense. All great article and a good lesson.

On a side note, "seat Belt" check points are never just for "seat Belts". That is what they say to please the courts, but not what they intend.
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

Driving a vehicle on public roads is not a right. If it were, then I would say people making the argument the government has no business involving itself in seat belt decisions would have a case.

Choosing not to wear a seatbelt is not a personal decision that does not impact others. It's a decision that over the total number of people that choose not to wear seatbelts costs me, and the rest of the insured drivers on the road significant amounts of money in the form of insurance premiums. That is unless insurance companies want to base rates on seat belt usage, and not pay injury claims to those who say they wear their seatbelt but get into an accident without one on (yeah, lawyers would allow that).

Despite the lack of my ability to find a true debatable issue in this matter, I too am sick of the mom and dad style of government and socialist tendancies which have become quite common in our current government.

City government and ordinances determining what color your house can be, how many electrical outlets you must have in your kitchen, how long your holiday lights can be on or laws regulating things such as peoples personal lives are absolutely ridiculous.
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

Just to clarify, I don't particularly care if somebody is severely injured or dies because they're not wearing their seatbelt. Just that it costs me money on my insurance premium.

I don't really care who lives and dies at what time. Everybody dies, and the obsessive nature of American society shoving it's nose where it doesn't belong to prevent people from "endangering" themselves has become sickening.
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

I am one of the guys who voted "I agree with Kieper and seldom wear my seatbelt". I agree 100% with what Kieper said and the only time I wear my seatbelt is when I am on the interstates. I think it is ridiculous that the government can force us to wear our seatbelts. That's the primary reason I don't wear it around town. It is my life and I will live it like I please. If I die on the highway then so be it. I know some of you will disagree with that but that's why we all have our own opinions.
Quote:
In my dream world, an occupant of a car would be responsible for his or her medical bills should they be injured while NOT wearing a seatbelt.
Good call, rwhite65.

Thanks for the heads up, Jester.
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Old 01-11-2005, 10:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

im sorry he was killed but its his own damn fault for being dumbass enough to not wear one.
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Old 01-11-2005, 10:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

ieatcamaros, that is the single coolest animation i have ever seen. you are my hero... in a heterosexual way
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit 5302
Choosing not to wear a seatbelt is not a personal decision that does not impact others. It's a decision that over the total number of people that choose not to wear seatbelts costs me, and the rest of the insured drivers on the road significant amounts of money in the form of insurance premiums. That is unless insurance companies want to base rates on seat belt usage, and not pay injury claims to those who say they wear their seatbelt but get into an accident without one on (yeah, lawyers would allow that).
How is it that you think that someone not wearing their seatbelt, will increase your premiums? If you get into an accident, and claim it on your insurance, YOUR premium goes up, not mine.

I too dispise the seatbelt law. Speeding laws are justifiable, DUI laws are justifiable, wreckless endangerment laws are justifiable, but seatbelt laws are just ignorant. If I do not wear my seatbelt, it does not effect anyone but me. If I get into an accident, I die, not you.

That being said, I wear mine everywhere I go. I used to live in an apartment with a corner store right across the street, when I drove there, I wore my seatbelt. It was so close, I could have hit it with a football if I so chose. I have had it engrained in my head since I was old enough to remember that seatbelts are improtant. My dad used to tell us, when we were too young to know any different, that the truck wouldnt start without all the seatbelts buckled.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

I've had the experience of being in an accident that should have killed with my seatbelt on or off. I drove a truck into a ditch at 80 mph. Upon the initial impact, if I hadn't been wearing my seatbelt, I would probably be fertilizing a field of corn right now after being thrown through the window. After my seatbelt prevented me from being ejected, the impact launched my truck into the air where it rolled over 180 degrees onto it's back, and landed upside down on the roof. The cab of the truck was folded back so that the highest point on my truck once they turned it back upright was the top of my bench seat. My seatbelt, which just saved my life, was now more likely to have killed me by holding me erect while the cab of my truck was folded back and flat with the bed. I should have been decapitated at the level of my shoulders. Somehow (I believe it was the grace of God, other's will believe it's luck), I survived with only a concusion to show for it.

As for what I think: I always wear my seatbelt. I'm more likely to die without it than with it. I don't know that it's the government's responsibility or right to obligate that I wear it, but it is the law, and I will do my best to abide by it. Even if it were overturned, I'd still wear my seatbelt.

In reguards to insurance rates: general trends in claims and payouts cause general fluctuations in the rates ALL consumers pay. If there are more injuries caused by people not wearing seatbelts, then there are more medical expenses, and thus more payouts by the insurance companies. Reguardless if it's your fault or the fault of the injured driver, it's not just your single accident that will cause rates to increase, it's the summation of accidents and claims accross the nation over years of time. Do you think your parents started paying the same amount for insurance 30 years ago that you do now? The increase is part inflation, part increased medical, repair, and labor costs, and part increased expense of overall claims. Not to mention payouts of life insurance claims for those killed in accidents that seatbelts could have saved.

Good thread, and good points all around.

--nathan
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Old 01-13-2005, 12:33 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigred90gt
How is it that you think that someone not wearing their seatbelt, will increase your premiums? If you get into an accident, and claim it on your insurance, YOUR premium goes up, not mine.

I too dispise the seatbelt law. Speeding laws are justifiable, DUI laws are justifiable, wreckless endangerment laws are justifiable, but seatbelt laws are just ignorant. If I do not wear my seatbelt, it does not effect anyone but me. If I get into an accident, I die, not you.

That being said, I wear mine everywhere I go. I used to live in an apartment with a corner store right across the street, when I drove there, I wore my seatbelt. It was so close, I could have hit it with a football if I so chose. I have had it engrained in my head since I was old enough to remember that seatbelts are improtant. My dad used to tell us, when we were too young to know any different, that the truck wouldnt start without all the seatbelts buckled.
Typical. Just like people that go to the doctor constantly to get their fair share out of their medical insurance, the lack of macro economics consideration is quite present with your logic.

Insurance companies base their rates on historical experience. You getting into an accident and suffering a far greater injury because you weren't wearing a seatbelt causes the insurance company thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. That payout becomes part of their claims experience and is paid for by all of their insureds. Since auto insurance is required by law, I am forced to pay more money for your stubborn and rather ignorant decision. Have you ever looked at what your "uninsured motorist" portion of your insurance policy adds up to? We're not talking peanuts here.

If you cause an accident that resulting in $50,000 worth of damage, the insurance company is not going to increase your rates $50,000 are they? You don't pay for your insurance coverage. You pay for a portion of the entire pool of insureds coverage, and in return, the insurance company agrees to cover you.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:47 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

Wow, talk about getting on the bad side of the "irony fairy".
I'm not trying to sound crass, I do respect that he was willing to stake his life on principal, even if it cut short his possible future contributions to society, not to mention the pain to his loved ones. Hopefully this stand was based on his beliefs more than the notion that "it wont happen to me."
I wear my seatbelt habitually. I freely admit that originally it was for fear of getting a ticket, not out of any belief that anything like that might happen to me. Thus is youth.
Since, I have learned that, yes it can. Consequently, I wear the belt (and would, even if all the laws were repealed today), not to mention that my driving habits have changed greatly.
I think that ultimatly, each person should be responsible for their behavior large and small. You choose not to wear a belt, fine, but you will pay more in insurance than someone who does. ( in a perfect world where everyones honest )
Same goes for helmet laws, you couldnt get me onto a bike without a helmet and leathers. But if you dont want to, fine, just dont cry later. (BTW, I once *watched* a guy lay a nice Harley over at speed trying to make a gravel u-turn, I stopped to help, and he had a nice "Barney purple" bruise on the top of his shoulder and gravel buried in his helmet. Had he chosen to ride helmetless, which is legal in Fl, His skull would have been spread over like 8ft of dirt.)
Sorry, end digression,
Anyway, In principal, I believe seat belt laws are an intrusion, and people should have an option, even if it costs them more. But in the practical world, occasionally there are others that might know more, or at least, can keep you alive long enough to let you make an informed decision.
As to the premiums queston though, I would daresay that the "payout" factor is not nearly as crippiling as it is made out to be, they are running a buisness, and if they can increase the amount you pay, due to honest inflation, they will add something, to keep the profit margin growing. I'm 29, have never had an accident, last ticket was like 4-5 years ago, for rolling through a stopsign, and I pay nearly 200 a month. But my credit is not great, so thats an excuse to jack the rates [Oh, wait, wrong rant, sorry]
Anyway, as far as "seatbelt checkpoints" etc, yes its basically a somewhat plausable excuse to set up a checkpoint to look for other reasons. The commercials are an even bigger waste of money, But I have to wonder, do insurance companies contribute to the funds for them, and if so do they get somekind of break for their "assistance"?

Anyway, all things considered, it DID get me in the habit of wearing it, and I would now, if I had the choice, but I wish it had been my parents to teach me to do it.

Apoligies for the lenght and tone, I'm in a cynical mood
J
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

i take responsibility for my own life, if i choose not to wear a seatbelt then no one should feel bad for me if i die. i let my passengers do the same. if they are old enough that they can go without and me not get a ticket then i let them take responsibility for what happens to them if i crash and burn
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Old 01-15-2005, 01:13 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

i agree with him and never wear my belt ...i only have a lap belt - no shoulder, so i cant really get caught for not wearing a belt. even if i were to crash and i did have my belt on my face would be in my dash anyways

unlike needlebender though i make the occupants that ride with me wear their belt because i would feel guilty if anything happened to my friends - since im the driver i am responsible for the lives of everybody else in my car and if anybody i knew got hurt ...i couldnt have that hangin over my head
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Old 01-15-2005, 10:54 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

i suppose that if i ever did have an accident and someone else in my car was hurt then i would feel differently and want all passengers to strap up. but as i am still young i am destined to find out the hard way
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Old 01-16-2005, 03:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Thumbs down Re: Seatbelt Laws...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeedleBender

i suppose that if i ever did have an accident and someone else in my car was hurt then i would feel differently and want all passengers to strap up. but as i am still young i am destined to find out the hard way
Well, at least you're aware of your own youthful hubris and it's possible consequences. None of that will save you in a serious wreck but you'll know that if a passenger in your car were injured or killed because they didn't wear a seatbelt - and you casually allowed them to go 'beltless' - it was at least partially your fault and you can then live with that knowledge for the rest of your life. Hey, lemme guess...no one tells YOU what to do, right? I thought so.
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Old 01-16-2005, 03:54 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Seatbelt Laws...

I've had my own ass saved by seat belts more times than I care to count. Wearing one is, as Mr 5.0 said, as natural as breathing now. I've been hit by drunks, deer, and Christmas trees (yes you read that correctly), and each time I have my belt to thank for not being ejected through the windshield or at least being torn up pretty bad. Never (knock on wood) has any accident I've been in been my fault, or even close to it. I look at the seat belt as a way to keep me alive, and let all the dumbarses out there be killed. Social Darwinism at its best, from a sadistic point of view.

Either way people look at the laws regarding belt usage, you can't argue with the fact that they just plain work in the vast majority of traffic collisions to prevent death. It's just the government(s) trying to save people from their own stupidity and/or premature death and injury, which is a good thing. Think of it as a way to keep the speed limits from decreasing further. Just imagine how fast we could go if our cars could be nearly 100% safe in collisions.
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