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Mandatory Use of Seat Belts

July 27, 1985

Another nuisance traffic law for motorists and yet another item for our undermanned police and Highway Patrol officers to contend with. It would seem more logical for our lawmakers to come up with stronger support in the way of finances and manpower so our traffic officers could gain control of some of our more important laws. A classic example is the 55 m.p.h. speed limit--a longstanding joke!

If this law was controlled, as it should be, there would be far fewer accidents and highway deaths. And there are the large number of autos with out-dated licenses--and all the outstanding and unpaid traffic citations. These just to list a few.

Recently our officers were given an added task of checking cited drivers to see if they carry proper auto insurance. This is a very good law but an added chore for our already overloaded traffic officers. And now a mandatory seat belt law! In this state this seat-belt law could go the same way the helmet law for motorcylist went--down and out!

And our lawmakers continue to beat the drums for air bags! Evidently they don't bother to read and properly evaluate the many reports that have come out on air bags. It has been proven, definitely, that air bags are great for head-on collisions, but their value is questionable in regard to rear-end or side collisions. So what percentage of collisions are head-ons? This figure has to be small and for this number there has to be expensive air bags? Surely there must be a better safety device that would also cover rear-enders and side-collision incidents. It's apparent our lawmakers aren't about to wait for anything better--they won't be satisfied until this air bag law is a fact of life.

CLARENCE W. HAYWARD

Los Angeles

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