General Question

Myndecho's avatar

Why do you think the police enforces us to wear our seat belts?

Asked by Myndecho (945 points ) April 16th, 2009

As it doesn’t effect anyone but ourselves.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

77 Answers

asmonet's avatar

If you become a projectile through your own stupidity, it affects others.
You become 100+ pounds of pain and damage.

Don’t think so narrowly.

Myndecho's avatar

@asmonet
That’s a very small number that will become projectiles and injure other people don’t you think?

asmonet's avatar

And don’t you think an even smaller number is favorable?

Don’t you think?

Myndecho's avatar

@asmonet
Then I could say don’t drive cars because of car crashes.
I wear my seat belt just to say.

asmonet's avatar

You’re grasping. :)

MacBean's avatar

I’ve been pretty affected by the mangled bodies in the car crashes I had to deal with when I was a volunteer fire fighter. Just sayin’.

Myndecho's avatar

@MacBean
Wasn’t that their own choice, I bet family members have been effected by death of people who smoke.

asmonet's avatar

Have you not noticed the law cracking down on that BS too?

Myndecho's avatar

@asmonet
:) It all comes down to should we stop people from doing what they want like drugs, alcohol, smoking? Or should we let people make their own choice unless it effect other people.
I wear my seat belt on every trip and make my friends do it, I also avoid alcohol and don’t take drugs, I still don’t want to force my views onto other people so I really don’t know with this.

MacBean's avatar

Okay, I pretty much believe in letting people live their lives as they see fit, but I don’t support complete anarchy. Laws are in place for a reason. Seatbelt laws are there for our own good. If you want to kill yourself, do it quietly in your own home, please, not by launching yourself through your windshield.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Myndecho. Enforcing the laws that are on the books are not the governments (state or federal) imposing their will on people. In large part, it is for the good and for the safety of everyone. Citizens already have the opportunity and freedom to make choices in their lives but when it comes to certain things that are illegal or dangerous, then I think it’s time for some professional intervention in cases like that.

asmonet's avatar

@Myndecho: I really think you’re stretching to find a valid argument against it. Wearing a seat belt is proven to be safer, save lives and can prevent you from becoming a hazard to or an obstacle in assisting other victims.

“Or should we let people make their own choice unless it effect other people.”
You lost your argument. Our whole country is based on the pursuit of happiness and freedom, so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. If you, through your inaction are a hazard to others, you should be contained by laws that prevent that. Within reason.

It does not in any way put you out or inconvenience you to think of your own safety and that of others.

Therefore, you should be forced to wear your seat belt.

Myndecho's avatar

@asmonet
Can you find me a article showing it’s safer for other people?
I live in the UK.

FGS's avatar

@Myndecho You are most certainly free from wearing your seatbelt…..You just have to be willing to pay the price when you are fined by the police.

asmonet's avatar

As I said, you can become an obstacle or a projectile. I do not need to show you an article to prove that.

It’s obvious.

Myndecho's avatar

@asmonet
As I said that’s a very very small number. Stop drive you car because you can cause crashes

asmonet's avatar

Which could be made smaller through ten seconds of effort before you pull out of your parking space.

Tell me how my logic is flawed. Please, because I truly don’t understand how you can’t accept that.

westy81585's avatar

Multiple reasons. As brought up before it prevents you from becoming a projectile (any crash capable of killing you, and pretty much anything above 30mph can, has the potential to throw you from your vehicle at a high velocity).

Also, whether or not you have a death-wish, seatbelts do save lives and we tend to try to prevent suicide (whether it be intentional or simply out of stupidity). We’d like to think most people wouldn’t stand up on a rollercoaster too, but to be certain we have seatbelts and restraints.

A side bonus is that it gives police an excuse to pull someone over if they suspect something is up (which is also the reason some states have front license plate laws and many other minor traffic violations).

Myndecho's avatar

@asmonet
People also die because they can’t get out of their cars in a crash because of their seat belts.

asmonet's avatar

You do know that it’s recommended that all drivers keep this within arms reach while operating a vehicle?

It’s another way to be safe And that’s a silly argument.

westy81585's avatar

@Myndecho Actually that claim that people die cuz they can’t get out of their cars is GREATLY exaggerated. It HAS happened, but in VERY rare freak occasions.

I’m pretty well acquainted with the difference a seatbelt can make in saving a life as both an avid fan of racecars (rally racing and street racing in particular) and someone who had been studying to be an ER surgeon. Trust me, take the time, put on your seatbelt.

Trustinglife's avatar

What I wonder about is this:

What is the potential benefit of discussing a law that is on the books? You are free to either follow the law or not (as FGS said). Why discuss whether the law is right – with us? Take it up with your lawmakers if you are serious about it. What would you gain from “winning” an argument with random Flutherers on the internet?

If you are truly seeking to understand the rationale, great. But @Myndecho, maybe you have a different learning style as me, but you seem more interested in being right and making your point than seeing something new.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Safety belt statistics. These facts and figures completely speak for themselves and they are overwhelmingly positive toward the benefit of seat belts.

asmonet's avatar

@westy81585: Exactly, freak occurrences, and in those moments, if you’re being cautious you have the backup emergency tool. It’s damn near impossible to stay in your car with one of those. I saw a 90 year old woman demonstrate the window breaker.

It’s hard to die with the safety levels of cars today and a few seconds of forethought.

Myndecho's avatar

@asmonet
This wasn’t a argument I was asking. I still think we should do what they want. Also is it law to keep that in your car?
@westy81585
So how many people die is important? can you find me number of how many people have died as a result of being hit by a person who didn’t wear his seat belt or the number of people trapped in their cars?

preggers's avatar

Drugs, alcohol and smoking affect other people. The laws are in place to protect us from other people. While seatbelts and suicide protects us from ourselves. I think a better question would be Should the law protect us from ourselves?

asmonet's avatar

@Myndecho: Um, could you rewrite that? I honestly don’t know where thats sentence was going, sorry.

I think you were saying it wasn’t an argument, people should be able to do what they want?

The point is, you are arguing your opinion, which is that it shouldn’t be a law. It should be an option. Which it is, you can choose to break the law. But the benefits for following it far outweigh whatever perceived benefits you can think of for breaking it.

The fact is you do become a hazard when you’re driving a death machine weighing thousands of pounds that is capable of hurling your body at great speeds and turning you into a human missile.

You become a weapon, however unintentional.

It simply isn’t a large enough inconvenience for your argument to be valid in any way. As far as I’m concerned, it’s no inconvenience at all – to anyone.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I’m not sure but… I thought the job of the police was to enforce laws… I guess I could be wrong.

asmonet's avatar

And I’m sorry, but I don’t think you realize how this works, you’re trying to prove a point, a minority one at that. The burden of proof really falls to you. If you think you’re correct, please, provide the links.

MacBean's avatar

@Myndecho The number of people who die seems to matter to you, as well. You keep saying (also without the links to sources that you keep asking from other people) that the number of people who are affected by human projectiles is very small. This seems to be part of your reasoning for supporting not enforcing seatbelt laws. How come you can use that argument, but people opposing you can’t?

Myndecho's avatar

@MacBean
That was the point as other said it didn’t matter how many people died

YARNLADY's avatar

I think the police enforce the law about wearing seat belts because enforcing the law is what the police are paid to do.

Myndecho's avatar

@YARNLADY
Clearly the question is about why is that the law and why are they made to care so much about it.

asmonet's avatar

Actually, you asked why the police enforced it, don’t get snippy if someone answers the question as written.

asmonet's avatar

And, because people have died. And less people die when it is enforced. Argue that.

With links if you’re up for it.

MacBean's avatar

And clearly the answer is that is the law because it is beneficial to people, and they care so much about it because that is their job.

This is the stupidest discussion I’ve been part of for a long time. Here, have a cute bunny. It won’t restore your brain cells, but it’ll make you smile.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Myndecho. It’s the law because someone, somewhere, determined that safety belts were going to save lives and that it was a great idea.

The police aren’t made to care about laws. They are taught to know and understand them and enforce them to the best of their abilities.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Myndecho I answered the question you asked word for word. If you want to ask a question about why a law is made, then you should say so. Clearly the question says exactly what I answered. You show me where it says anything different.

preggers's avatar

It’s not just protecting you from yourself.

From Bluefreedom’s link (in case you didn’t read it):
A common cause of death and injury to children in motor vehicles is being crushed by adults who are not wearing safety belts. One out of four serious injuries to passengers is caused by occupants being thrown into each other.

YARNLADY's avatar

We all pay for those who do not wear seat belts. The higher health care and insurance costs that result from unbelted drivers and passengers involved in crashes get passed along to everyone. For example, the costs of hospital care for an unbelted driver are 50 percent higher than those for a driver who was wearing a safety belt. Society bears 85 percent of those costs, not the individuals involved.
A child unrestrained in a 30-mile-per-hour crash is like a child dropped from a third story window. Yet adults who do not buckle up are sending a message to our children it is all right not to use seat belts. Research shows that when a driver is unbuckled, 70 percent of the time children in that vehicle will not be buckled either.

The public overwhelming supports primary seat belt laws, 61 to 35 percent.(Source: Public Opinion Strategies, July 1997)

asmonet's avatar

Le sigh. I feel the need to relay a story.

When I was almost two years old, I was in the backseat with my sister and brother in the car on I believe I-95 in FL, a death trap of a road if you know it. At an intersection my mother was rammed into by a car going well above the speed limit and running a red light. My mother had green, and children in the car.

For the last few minutes I was being a bit of a brat, and had recently learned how to undo the seat belts on my car seat. I repeatedly took them off and on. My mother, in the intersection had just noticed mine was off and my sister who was almost four at the time, had just removed hers to put me back in my seat.

At that moment we were hit. Our car spun full circle multiple times, and with the back window down I went flying into heavy traffic on a five lane highway. Completely naked, the blow actually knocked my diaper off (enjoy that folks). I’ve heard different distances mentioned but the consensus seems to be about forty feet away was my landing spot. At a year and a half, I still remember the ambulance ride, being terrified, not understanding what happened, where my family was, or why I was strapped down to a stretcher and being stabbed with multiple needles. I remember every minute of it.

Before I was noticed wandering through cars going 50+mph my mother was so shocked and scared that she hallucinated me in the back seat and reached multiple times for a white plastic bag, which in her mind was obviously my diaper, the only thing I was wearing. A few tries in and she came to her senses and I was found. Waddling around with just a scratch on my chin.

The point of this story is yes, I was fine. I did not have lasting damage from the accident.

But if I wasn’t being so damn childish I never would have put myself in a position to be hurt or hurt those around me in the first place.

I could have been maimed, killed, run over by an innocent party in another car who would have had to have the guilt of hitting another human being and ending their life, I could have hit a windshield, ending my life and causing a multiple car pile-up, anything could have occurred.

I was a child, I did not know any better.
You’re just acting like one.

casheroo's avatar

wow @asmonet if i was your momma, i would have never let you go after that.

I think the idiots are motorcyclist..they don’t have to wear helmets. Makes absolutely no sense to me.
Seat belts serve a purpose. I believe there should be stricter laws on this, actually. I’m big on extended rear facing for children. My son is 21 months and almost 30lbs and is still rear-facing in a car seat. He will be in a five point harness until he hits the weight limit of 65lbs, then he’ll be in a booster seat until minimum 8 years old. 5 point harnesses are the safest, thats why racecar drivers use them! They should be mandatory in ALL cars.

asmonet's avatar

And then I got swords and crossbows for toys only a few years later. Clearly, she agrees with me that I was and am invincible! rawr!

;)

Mr_M's avatar

It used to say in the NY State Driver Permit Manual that you want the driver to have a seatbelt on so that he can stay in his seat and control the car better in the event of an accident.

cwilbur's avatar

If you do not wear a seat belt, the injuries to you are likely to be far greater in the event you are in an accident. This means that the insurance company is going to have to pay a lot more in medical bills. And because the money the insurance pays out comes from insurance premiums, there is a clear relationship between increased seat belt use and reduced insurance premiums.

People want to pay less on their insurance more than they want to be free to choose whether or not to use seat belts. More importantly, people value paying less on their insurance more than they value you being able to not wear a seat belt. When insurance companies started offering lower premiums in states that have seat belt laws, the legislatures rushed to pass laws.

Now, if you don’t want to wear a seat belt, I don’t think you should be required to. But as it is the law, if you choose to break the law, you should accept the consequences without complaining if and when you get caught.

Myndecho's avatar

Guys I was only asking this, I’m not saying I’m right your wrong, this to discuss not for me to ignore you and just say I’m right if I felt I was right.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”-Benjamin Franklin, 1759

Is it for your own good, others or both? We let people drink, take drugs, eat unhealthy food and suicide is legal, so I don’t see why our governments would care about this anymore. Letting people not wear seat belts will kill some people by individuals being projected out of their windows and hitting other people (I’ve tried to look for figures for this but couldn’t find any, if any of you can find any that would help me)

I think is ok in saying this is a very low number and there are many other things that we do that leads to more deaths, e.g. drinking, being under the influence leads you to kill people accidentally or on purpose. If we ban drinking these death may not happen.
25,000 people die each year in alcohol related accidents
http://ezinearticles.com/?Drunk-Driving-Accidents&id=275414
The government is to serve you not control you.

Kids are too young to make up their minds if they should wear seat belt, the same as they can’t have alcohol.

Myndecho's avatar

@YARNLADY
You were being pedantic.

robmandu's avatar

@Myndecho, and you are being obtuse.

Response moderated
asmonet's avatar

@Myndecho: We only allow those activities in moderation, and when you take those activities to excess, you open yourself up to legal ramifications. If you don’t agree with what you’re saying and insist on playing devil’s advocate, why not just own up to it? :)

mattbrowne's avatar

Not necessarily. Other car passengers might need help after the accident.

Another aspect is the strain of the health system. Injuries are expensive.

Darwin's avatar

Cops enforce the seat belt laws for two reasons.

1) It is the law so they need to enforce it.

2) They really hate going to accidents where people have been decapitated by their own windshield.

gailcalled's avatar

@Myndecho: Have you ever seen 17 year old parapalegics or quadrapelics? It is a sobering sight.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

the intent is safety but really it’s to generate funds for the city. It’s like parking tickets that way.

wundayatta's avatar

I see that the health arguments have already been made. We pay for your health care if you can’t pay for it. And even if you do have insurance, all the rest of us are going to have higher premiums to pay for your stupidity. So yes, I am protecting my own wallet when I force you to wear a seatbelt. You damn well better wear it! I could give a shit about your life, but I do care about my wallet.

However, there’s another thing that I don’t think people have talked about yet. That’s that, in reality, I should care about your life. You may already be a productive member of society, and even if you aren’t you have the potential to be. You may be the parent of children. Your work might be depended upon by others.

If you die, someone else has to fill all that in, and we are all poorer. So actually, I do give a shit about your life. Although, again, it has to do with my wallet. Pretty crass, eh?

Let me give you an example. A couple of years ago, Governor Corzine of New Jersey was hurt badly in an accident, because he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. For a number of days or weeks, the state was without a Governor. The head of the Senate stepped in, but he had not been elected to that position. So Corzine’s accident had a pretty significant impact on the State of New Jersey. Not every case is so dramatic, but it illustrates my point.

Wear your fucking seatbelt!!!

cwilbur's avatar

@daloon: I care about other people’s lives, but I think they have the right to self-determination. If they want to do something self-destructive, it’s their life to destroy.

Darwin's avatar

@cwilbur – But what if destroying their own life interferes with someone else’s life? Even if it just that someone has to clean up all the blood and broken metal? Or by having an accident on a busy street that results in their death or dismemberment so you are held up in traffic and miss a vital meeting?

robmandu's avatar

In our society, it’s usually – but not always – assumed that the physical health of the individual impacts the welfare of the society as a whole.

Simple, preventative measures like seatbelt laws, as well as prohibitions against self-harm (like suicide), exist due to that rationale.

When such measures impede not at all on the individual’s liberty to go about his business, it’s likely going to be strongly enforceable.

wundayatta's avatar

@cwilbur Did you get that I was not trying to make an argument based on caring about life? I do, but in this society, it seems to me that money matters more than life, so I was trying to show how someone dying in a car accident, or even just getting hurt in a car accident costs us all. If we want lower taxes, we should make everyone wear seatbelts. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather give less to my government, if I can, while still providing necessary services.

tinyfaery's avatar

Money: daloon’s $, state revenue, to get federal money, $$$.

jo_with_no_space's avatar

Well sure it does…. the more car crashes there are, the more police time, attention and money will be diverted towards them.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Myndecho I expect to find questions on fluther that actually mean what they say. It is very rude of the questioner to expect the other users to “guess” what you really mean. The best communication occurs when people are careful to say what they mean, and good spelling helps too. You surely don’t believe that the police actually make the laws we follow, do you? Why even say “police enforce the law” if you really mean “lawmakers make the law”?

bea2345's avatar

@Myndecho The police enforce the law because that is their job. If being thrown through your own windscreen was harmless, we would not need seat belts. But it is not harmless. Worse, you can be maimed for life. Think what your face will look like after meeting up with a windscreen. It will be nothing human.

theluckiest's avatar

You aren’t required to wear a seat belt.
The choice not to simply has consequences – some as a result of nature (i.e. being flung through your windshield) and some as a result of democracy (i.e. a citation)

gailcalled's avatar

I have who has been a scoff-law all his life. He let his buddies put trash in the transfer station without paying (he then got fired) and also had an illegal dumping site in his woods for contractors who didn’t want to follow the law. He was caught and fined for that

This man’s son drank a lot, drove his pick-up truck on the road New Year’s Eve several year’s ago. He, his friend in the passenger seat and the one in the back of the truck used no seat belts.

He ran off the road and into a tree. His buddy in the front seat was thrown thru the windshield and killed; the boy in the back fell out of the truck and is permanently paralyzed from the neck down. And the 18 year old driver is in jail for involuntary manslaughter, among other charges. My neighbor looks 50 years older than he used to.

gailcalled's avatar

Edit; I have a neighbor…who has…

bea2345's avatar

@gailcalled – Acts have consequences, and your neighbour is learning about some of them. by the way, all these years I guessed the meaning of the word scoff-law from the context; this is the first time I checked the dictionary for it, and hey, I was right.

gailcalled's avatar

@bea2345 Yay for a good guess and yay^2 for checking in the dictionary. Now use “scoff-law” a few times, and it will belong to you.

Macaulay's avatar

No one wants to UNBUCKLE a dead body, ya know.

Darwin's avatar

@Macaulay – Nobody is particularly thrilled to pick up the head of someone who was decapitated by the windshield, either.

What the heck, just use the seat belt. It usually doesn’t increase injury and very often reduces it.

Myndecho's avatar

@Darwin
I was getting at it’s our own choice if we want to die that way, if I want to do something dangerous that’s my own choice.
The chances of anyone else to have a injury by me not wear a seat belt is very unlikely.

MacBean's avatar

@Myndecho I’m interested in your opinion on this.

cwilbur's avatar

@Myndecho: the rationale is not that other people will get hurt, but that care for you if you get injured while not wearing a seat belt will be more expensive. This means that insurance premiums in states where seat belt use is mandatory go down, because the overall cost of treating people injured in car accidents in that state goes down.

It’s your choice to do something dangerous, but if you choose to do something that raises everyone’s insurance premiums, people are going to be upset. And that’s why there’s a law requiring seat belt usage. And a law that isn’t enforced is worse than no law at all, so the police enforce this one.

Darwin's avatar

@Myndecho – Something else to consider is that without a seat belt in a crash you can become a flying projectile and thus injure or kill someone else, like this (Caution: gross images). That is why even back seat passengers should wear seat belts, if they like the front seat driver and/or passenger at all.

Zaku's avatar

The police do it because it is the law, and a law they are told to actually enforce.

They’re told to actually enforce it by the local governments for two reasons:
1) It brings in more money for local governments through fines.
2) Some of the local governments may be encouraged by the insurance industry one way or another.

It is a law in the first place because legislators, influenced heavily by the insurance industry and perhaps some safety fanatics, and people who sympathize with those views (or have been brainwashed by their jargon, whether first-hand or repeated down through media and other channels).

The insurance industry invests a lot of effort in making as many such laws as possible, because it gives them an advantage in the games they play to get as much profit out of policies as possible, by reducing money damages in wrecks.

bea2345's avatar

@Zaku , this is the kind of reply that makes one go, “Yes, but…”

Zaku's avatar

@bea2345 Yes but what? I’m saying the true things that others don’t say, and that answers the question.

I guess the other part I am not saying is that the reason the Insurance companies get away with this lawmaking, is that other people are fooled by the obvious truth that is is a good idea to always wear your seat belt, into thinking that there should be a LAW about it, and that it’s ok or a necessary situation for police to be pulling people over and fining people who don’t. I happen to care about needless punishment of people, and appropriation of their money, when it is not a necessary solution. I always wear a seat belt, and I wish everyone else would too, but I would EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT IT, and if I want to involve the police, I would have them give warnings, and possibly require people to take a class about it, or have at least a warning where if they get caught 2 or 3 times in a certain period, they can be fined, but not a punishment for ever not wearing a seat belt. Because I think it is also entirely valid to say, “bleep you all very much for your concern but I am responsible for my own safety, and if you think I am raising your insurance rates, bleep you.” (Not you personally, just the social mob that doesn’t care to do the right thing, and lazily allows this petty tyranny.)

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