This is probably the only time I will be more conservative than the DN.I think that parents who don't wear their seatbelts properly, or at all,
and do not enforcethe proper wearing by all occupants, are very selfish.
How would you like your kids to risk have a dead mother, as unfortunately
recently happened, because she did not wear the shoulder belt in front?Moreover, unbelted drivers can lose control in emergency situations, and
perhaps kill occupants of another car they could have missed.Not
wearing belts is stupid.
The term "excessive speed" is a misnomer. It suggests that speed-limits
are too high, or that drivers are exceeding speed-limits or that doing so
automatically causes accidents. The term is used as a catch-all in
police reports when the exacted cause cannot be determined. If a motorist is
going 35 mph in a 65 mph zone and encounters a patch of ice, misuses the brakes,
and spins out, the officer would likely report "excessive speed" or
"too fast for conditions." When in reality, the cause was the
driver's error in using the brakes. One study found that two thirds of
accidents related to "excessive speed" were travelling under the
speed-limit.In Denmark a two year study showed raising speed limits
reduced both accident rates and related deaths. Here in Utah, against
UDOT's partiality, the Legislature ordered a three-year study of two
sections of I-15 with 80 mph speed limits. While speed increased, accidents fell
with no speed-related fatalities.Speed doesn't kill. Otherwise,
racecar drivers would all die. Air travel would kill. Space travel would be
impossible. Driver error kills, not speed. Policy that recognizes
the difference will help us get closer to 'Zero Fatalities.'
Speed may or may not have been a primary cause in these fatalities, but in my
experience along the Wasatch Fronts, speed is way up. I usually will travell
about 10 mph over the speed limit, which means 75 mph much of the time, and
it's not unusual for me to be the slowest driver, passed by cars going 80
mph+With longer segments of our Interstates in Utah having 80mph
speed limits, that means many drivers will be going 90 mph+, assuming their cars
can maintain that speed. My truck cannot go 90, which means there is a speed
differential when I'm out in those areas, a complicating factor. Higher
speeds require much quicker reaction times.All other factors being
equal, more speed = less survivability.
"The rate of deaths per 100,000 people has dropped from about 15 to 10 since
1999, a reduction of about 25 percent."I know its early, but
isn't going from 15 to 10 about a 33% reduction?
About this phenomenon of people not wearing seat belts, I had a fascinating
discussion with a teenager about this topic.I don't know how
prevalent this thinking is, I have just one anecdotal data point.I
found out a youngster who would borrow my car would buckle the seat belt and
then sit on top of the seat belt - so the car alarms would not annoy him. I
told him this was unacceptable, and if you drive my car, you need to wear seat
belts.Then I asked why in the world he made the effort to buckle the
seat belt, but not use it. He was reluctant to share his reasoning, but
basically he said that driving around with no seat belt is a way to exercise
your faith that God will take care of you, if you trust in Him.Essentially, it was kind of a combination of adrenaline rush (defying known
safety practices), and having faith that you'll be OK, if you trust in the
Lord.Like I said, I have no idea how prevalent this thinking is, but
it is understandable how kids could arrive at that mindset.
There are a lot of things Drivers should remember. Seat belts aren't the
only one.As BobK said... "Not wearing belts is stupid".
Maybe we should just pass a law that prohibits doing stupid things. Then we
would have almost nothing to worry about!
Way to go out on a limb with this editorial DNews.In all seriousness
I actually think this is a great time to print something about seat belt usage.
I can't remember if it was here or on KSL where I read that deaths related
to auto accidents it ahead of last year. Mainly because so many people involved
in these accidents weren't wearing their seat belts. I agree with Bob K on
this one.And 2bits, we do pass laws against doing stupid things,
when they have the potential to harm others. And if you don't wear your
seat belt you are posing a harm to others. If I hit you with my car and you fly
through my windshield, your stupid behavior has just put my life in jeopardy.
The laws requiring people to wear seat belts are just like the other laws that
rule our roads like speed limits, lane changes, which side of the road to drive
on. They are all designed to make the roads safe for everyone to drive on.
@Wraith,Then we only need one law... "No doing stupid
things". Then we would have nothing to worry about.That one
law would cover not wearing your seat-belt, speeding, stupid lane changes,
basically all stupid driving behaviors (in one law). It also covers doing
drugs, steeling, assault, child abuse, drunk driving, etc (all outlawed by the
above law).Everything could be covered by this one law!Problem is... you have to define "stupid" for some people.
@ 2bitssigh...Can you answer some questions for me?Do you even understand how laws work? Do you understand how our judicial
system works? Have you ever actually read a law? Are you really trying to say
that we shouldn't have seat belt laws? I am really at a loss as to why you
think seat belt laws are a bad thing?The reason we can't just
have a law that says don't do stupid things is because that isn't how
the law works.As far as defining stupid people, well lets just say
that's been made easy today.
@Wraith,I was actually trying to be funny. We'll try to find you a
sense of humor.I know how the law works. And I know we can't
have one law that says, "It's illegal to do anything stupid".
That was the point.I don't have a problem with seat-belt laws.
I don't know where you got that judgement of me, maybe because you have a
stereotype-based picture of me already in your mind, and that tells you I must
be against them. But I never said that.I think seat-belt laws are
perfectly fine. I believe SOME people don't need them (because they
won't do stupid things, even if it's NOT against the law). And I
agreed that it was stupid to not use them.So I have no problem with
having these laws for people who can't resist doing stupid things... UNLESS
their's a law against it.These laws don't affect my
behavior... so why would I care? But if the prevent others from doing stupid
things (who would otherwise do stupid things)... then I'm for them.
2 bits,I agree with the general philosophy you conveyed in your 2:50
p.m. post (i.e., seat belt laws are fine; it's stupid to not wear
seatbelts; laws prohibiting "stupid" behavior that endangers others are
fine, too; and such laws tend not to alter the behavior of people whose wisdom
and regard for the well-being of themselves and others prevent them from
engaging in said "stupid" behavior). A couple of observations, though .
. .Your attempt at humor was clearly and spectacularly unsuccessful
(sorry, but a spade is a spade).Your "humorous" suggestion
came across as somewhat patronizing (to me, at least), implying that it would
not be dismissed as absurd due to some assumed level of naiveté in the DN
Comments forums. I honestly hope that was not your intent; I would be
disappointed if it was.Wraith's misunderstanding of your intent
was likely due to your non-sequitur of agreeing with and reinforcing BobK's
serious "Not wearing belts is stupid", and then in the same (figurative)
breath, facetiously stating that a single "No doing stupid things" law
would be a silver bullet solution to all traffic safety problems, among other
"The Highway Patrol launched what it calls a summer-long safety
'blitz' in reaction to the higher death rates. Rigorous law
enforcement is one of the ways the state can help combat highway
fatalities."The Highway Patrol must not have included
enforcement of the speed limits in their safety blitz. They never seem to pull
speeders over. And speeding is the major cause of deaths on the highways.It is comical that the emphasis for safety on the highways is the
wearing of seat belts. Wearing seat belts does not prevent accidents.
Accidents involving damages and death are prevented by obeying traffic laws...
staying within the speed limit, avoiding tailgating."Half of
those who died were not wearing seat belts."None would likely be
dead had they'd been obeying traffic laws such as indicated above. Again,
wearing seat belts does not prevent accidents.
In that case 2bits I owe you a deep and sincere apology. I am sorry that I
misunderstood what you were going for. I actually have a great sense of humor,
but everyone makes mistakes. I guess that now makes me the stupid one - at least
for the time being.