Advertisement

Mandatory Use of Seat Belts

July 27, 1985

Regarding mandatory seat-belt usage, the question is not one of freedom of choice. This is a matter of public health and safety involving the use of motor vehicles on public roads. The use of a motor vehicle is a privilege granted by and regulated by the state. The state may enact whatever laws or regulations regarding the use of a motor vehicle, it deems necessary in the interests of public safety.

I am an auto enthusiast and longtime advocate of the use of seat belts. The lives of myself, my wife, and my son have twice been saved by the use of seat belts/shoulder harnesses. In both cases these were severe accidents in which the vehicle that I was driving was totally wrecked by a drunken driver who had run a red light. Your energies would be better spent trying to eliminate this threat to all of us (drunk drivers) than worrying about the mandatory use of a device that can save your life.

There is no question that seat belts do save lives. In the year after the enactment of Australia's mandatory seat belt/shoulder harness-usage law, the auto accident fatality rate dropped 50%. More recently the state of New York has seen a 25% reduction during the first quarter that their seat-belt law was in effect.

There isn't an auto race-sanctioning organization in this country that doesn't mandate the use of safety harnesses during their events. Ask any race car driver what he thinks of this lack of choice. What difference is there between those organizations and the ones that sanction your driving on their (the state's) roads? Ask any race car driver which is safer, road or track and he/she is likely to say track.

DOUG HERRICK

Culver City

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|