there are 49 States in the US which require the use of seat belts while riding in cars, but until recently, citizens of one last State did not have to worry about such a law: New Hampshire. but a bill was introduced in the NH House this year which would have done just that – require passengers to wear seat belts whether or not they wanted to. the bill passed the House, and the Senate tabled the bill, meaning they could come back to it for a vote at any time. however, they did not return to this bill, meaning it has expired for the current session.
what’s the big deal about seat belt laws, you say? after all, as every Virginian knows, “seat belts save lives” – we see signs proclaiming this motto every time we hit the highway. personally, I wear my seat belt every time in get in my car, even if I’m only going across the street for a gallon of milk. and I strongly encourage/force my passengers to do the same. so what’s the difference in the government forcing us to do this?
there are a few problems I have. first of all, whether I wear my seat belt does not infringe on the rights of anybody else. if someone wrecks into me, whether or not they are buckled up will bear no difference on my outcome. second, there are a substantial percentage of cases where seat belts have actually caused death, i.e. someone ejected from the crash lives, but someone trapped in the car died due to a fire or some other cause. I should be free to decide for myself which way I feel safer, since the stats do not swing 100% either way. third, and most important of all: even if seat belts prevented injury or death 100% of the time, what right does the State have to tell me that I’m too dumb for my own good, so they will forcibly protect me by penalty of law? 100% of people that have never skydived, never died from skydiving. should the State ban skydiving because people have a better chance of living if they don’t engage in such an activity?
we are supposed to live in the “land of the free”. we should be free to make any choice provided it does not infringe on another. seat belts, skydiving, even suicide fall under these categories. my congrats to New Hampshire for remaining the last vestige of true liberty and freedom in these united States.
and while we’re talking about New Hampshire, check out the Free State Project!
UPDATE: check out what Stefan Molyneux has to say about seat belt laws and other important issues!