The truth behind seatbelt laws.
The media blitz is just annoying. I don't really mind paying to educate the stupid and cajole the stubborn but paying to place myself at risk of fine is just absurd. I'm sure you are just as tired as I am of "click it or ticket" droning on the airwaves. If you received a ticket, well what are you stupid? Didn't you realize that when you mailed your taxes on April 15th that you were paying to have police stop you and write you up for being dumb as a bag of hammers?
That's right. The federal government took your tax dollars (well actually a loan on taxes you are yet to pay) and sent them to your state for the express purpose of placing the police on your trail to write you up for the pure evil of not wearing a seat belt. That's right, you shameless scofflaw. Because you wouldn't voluntarily comply and buckle up or commit some other highway shenanigans that would invite an officer into your car, the government had to go into debt to make sure you are held securely in your seat when the airbag punches your lights out.
"OK", your asking, "so the feds wanted to send my state some money to write tickets, why did my state take it?" Because they care. Not about you but about highway funding dollars. You see the feds extort so many tax dollars from the states, the only way that infrastructure can be maintained is if the federal government sends some of it back to the states in highway grants. Now your state officials want that money. Not to fix the roads but because they want to give contracts to people that are going to get them reelected. Without that federal money there are no contracts to let and the caring politicians in your state would have to do something to earn your vote or, God forbid, get a real job. To get that money they have to legislate seat belt use. Now there is Hobson's choice.
So now you have a ticket because you didn't click it, bad roads, and debt that will take generations to pay off. That is if we could figure out a way to keep the greedy bastards out of session for a few decades. The real question is why is it necessary to go into debt to increase the use of seatbelts?
To get 11% of you to buckle up. That is the increase in seat belt use in states with primary enforcement of seatbelt laws. Hard to believe huh? 11% of the drivers require a law to use a safety device already mandated to be in their car. If that doesn't explain professional wrestling ponder this, even with the public education campaign and the stepped up enforcement, there are still 20% of you that will not click it and risk a ticket. But never fear. No one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American people or the amount of money their government will spend to control them.
"But still, if I'm a mouth breather that wants to risk my life, why does the government care?" The answer is that there is a bunch of busy bodies that for whatever reason care enough about you to make sure you are punished if you don't listen to them. Maybe they lost a loved one in an accident. Maybe they are an insurance company that will beat the mortality tables if less young people die in traffic accidents. Maybe they are just narcissistic controlling pricks. Whatever the reason, these interest groups get your representatives to act on their desires.
"But why would my elected representatives act to restrict the freedom of a sizable percentage of the population?" Sadly, the days of a limited government with enumerated powers ended with Lincoln. It could have something to do with the fact that most members of all legislative bodies in the world are primarily educated as lawyers. Nothing against lawyers but if you are a carpenter, every problem looks like a nail. So when a caring lobbyist presents the latest hysteria to the run of the mill legislator, load the printer and hide you wallet because the bills are coming. And let's face it. When it comes time to get reelected it looks a lot better to have the endorsement of an organization that is associated with public safety instead of opposing every lame brained scheme they commit to a press release.
In a more enlightened age we could have a discussion centering on one of the main themes in the novels of Ayn Rand, "Who owns your life?" That discussion is superfluous. Your life is owned by the state. Notice I didn't ask, "Should you own your own life?" In a more just age we could discuss what should be but in our time, people simply raid the government's coffers to make the world the way they want it.