Don't turn Alaska into a "Nanny State:" April 13, 2005
I strongly support wearing seat belts. I want to make sure everybody understands that. Any one who doesn’t wear a seat belt is extremely foolhardy, doesn’t care about their life, or is dangerously rebellious. People in those categories will pay no attention to this law. As far as I’m concerned, not wearing a seat belt is a variety of Russian roulette.
However, and it’s a great big “however,” I cannot support this bill.
Yes, this bill might save some lives. I understand that. But we could also pass a bill to outlaw cars, and airplanes, and knives, and forks, and hammers, and everything else - because that could also save lives.
Yes, we do need appropriate laws – but I don’t want to turn Alaska into a “Nanny State.” We already have seat belt laws. At some point people need to take personal responsibility for their personal actions – and actions do have consequences.
The kindest thing I can say about this bill is that it’s impractical. No cop can drive down the highway and tell if the driver is wearing a seat belt.
Ergo, there’s no probable cause to pull someone over to write a ticket – unless we make everyone put a flashing light on the roof of their car when a belt isn’t worn! Is that going to be the next law? I hope I didn’t give anyone any bad ideas!
What this bill does is to give law enforcement carte blanche opportunity to pull anyone over, at anytime, without probable cause – and that’s very dangerous in a free society.
The fact of the matter is, cops can already find legitimate reasons to pull someone over. I’m an ex-cop. I know that. And I’ve done it. I’ve pulled drivers over for basic traffic violations, driving like a drunk, burnt out license plate lights, whatever. But pulling someone over on the assumption that maybe someone’s not wearing a seat belt – That’s wins my “That’s Incredible Award.”
Once again, I believe in wearing a seat belt, and everyone should wear a seat belt, but unfortunately we can’t legislate common sense. I wish we could.