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Front Page » January 30, 2007 » Opinion » Letter to the Editor: Enough seatbelt laws
Published 3,175 days ago

Letter to the Editor: Enough seatbelt laws

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This letter is in regard to Senate Bill 36 which is being considered by our legislation. This is a seat belt legislation that will make it legal for an officer to pull any adult driver over and ticket them for not wearing a seatbelt.It will now be a primary offense. A bill, by the way, that our Senator Dmitrich voted for in committee.

We used to live in a free Democratic society but that is not the case any longer. Basic rights and liberties are being eroded at an alarming rate by policy and legislation. In a country like ours, freedom never disappears all at once. It goes out gradually, always with a few people saying it's for our own good. And the federal government will always dangle a "carrot" to lead people into legislation they would never agree to otherwise.

This is really not even about what's "for our own good". Within the last week it was reported in the news that cancer deaths are down because of colonoscopies and mammograms. Can you imagine the public reaction you would get if legislators mandated that everyone over a certain age get a colonoscopy every year or have food cops dictate diets? It holds that cigarettes, obesity related diseases, and cancer kill and cost society billions and billions of dollars. They are the leaders in death in this nation. But like seatbelts, you would be taking away peoples freedoms, for their own good of course. Millions on earth have and will die for the sake of religion. Shall we abolish that freedom next? It is fast coming that we will live like lab rats, our lives metered out and monitored by big brother. A state interest should never outweigh that of the individual. This country was founded on the idea of giving maximum liberties as long as those liberties don't infringe on the rights of others. For that the reason has to be overwhelming and compelling. Between 1986 and 1990 the Hawaiian government vigorously enforced seat belt legislation and achieved approximately 95 percent belt use. During that period the state's fatal accident rate increased by 10 percent. This happened during a period when the fatality rate was declining for the rest of the United States.

A survey was conducted about safety restraints by Dan Jones and Associates in December 2006 and posted on the "Zero Fatalities" website. The results were based on the percentage of Utahans who ranked improper restraints as a very dangerous behavior on a five point scale. It was only slightly over 30 percent of those surveyed that felt it was a very dangerous behavior. Statewide statistics note that seatbelt usage is 88.9 percent up from 86.6 percent in 2005. Education and the power of persuasion will always work better than the force of law. We already have sound effective laws on seatbelts.

We as citizens simply can't continue to sacrifice personal rights or we will have neither liberty nor justice.

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January 30, 2007
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