Belting Dickie

In Monday’s copy of The Daily News Record, my local paper, I stumbled across an article concerning the plan to raise the speed limit on the interstates in rural Virginia.  I don’t know about you, but I’m in favor of the idea.  Did you know that every neighboring state, with the exception of Maryland, allows a motorist to travel at 70 mph?  From my experiences in Tennessee and North Carolina, traffic flows smoother at this higher speed, and, when traveling long distances, it shaves considerable time off of your trip.  According to the article, all of the Delegates and Senators in this part of the state support this proposal.

However, also embedded within this article, lawmakers considered the issue of mandatory seat beat laws.  Currently in Virginia one can be charged with not wearing a seat belt only if stopped for some other reason.  It is a secondary offense.  Personally, I believe that the state should not regulate seat belt usage.  Should everyone wear a seat belt?  Absolutely, but it is not the role of the state to mandate your safety in your car so long as it does not directly affect other motorists or your passengers.  If you choose not to wear a seat belt, you should be willing to suffer any ill consequences as a result.  It is a matter of personal responsibility.  Along this line, all nearby legislators voted against making a seat belt violation a primary offense…all except newly elected Dickie Bell of Staunton.  Troubling…most troubling.  Unfortunately, as I was working in Newport News during the election, I didn’t spend much time reading about the candidates back home, so I really don’t know too much about Delegate Bell yet.  Browsing his website you find the following quote:  “Voters in the 20th District want representatives who listen to them and act on their behalf.  They want individual freedom to conduct their own lives and make personal choices.  They want to raise their families without excessive government interference…” I would argue that such a sentiment reflects the voters of not just the 20th District, but the majority of Virginians as a whole.

So what’s the deal with Delegate Bell’s vote on the seat belt debate?  I hope that this particular issue is just an aberration and he, like his campaign website leads us to think, believes in limited government and personal responsibility as opposed to the nanny state.  I’d like nothing more for him to be a champion for conservatives like myself in Richmond.  I suppose it is too early to tell for certain.  Either way, one should keep a close eye on Delegate Bell’s votes in this session to discover the truth.

3 Replies to “Belting Dickie”

  1. A very good point you make. Having been in an accident where I was very nearly thrown through the windshield of my car, I always wear a seatbelt – almost compulsively, in fact, as I find I can’t start the car until I have it on. But it’s not for the government to tell me I have to do it. It feeds into the red herring about the “social cost” of various things, which is really just a code for legislation of personal behavior. If people want to risk being thrown bodily from their car in an accident, let them. They can accept the consequences. At the rsk of sounding harsh and abrasive, why waste resources trying to nanny them into common sense the obviously don’t possess in the first place?

  2. I am writing an update on the seat belt bill and would love to quote you on your thoughts.
    Let me know if your interested soon.
    Thank you,
    Amelia Reddington
    Capital News Service

  3. Amelia, I would be glad to comment.

    California was the original testing ground for mandatory seat belt laws. The insurance industry pushed through legislation under the guise of personal responsibility. Like government taking over somehow promotes anything but tyranny.

    The insurance industry propaganda claimed that the legislation was necessary to promote public safety when the motive was increasing profit margins through denial of claims. They claimed that people who didn’t wear seat belts were driving up premiums and that the consumers would benefit. What really happened was that insurance companies immediately started denying claims using the contributory negligence defense. They escaped liability for medical costs if seat belts were not worn pocketing billions in unpaid claims. Instead of lowering premiums they pocketed the savings and externalized the costs onto the victims.

    The insurance industry propaganda claimed that this promoted personal responsibility because the victims were now personally responsible for their decision not to wear their seat belts. Of course someone seriously injured can’t work and in many cases couldn’t pay their health insurance premiums loosing that coverage, too. Now the responsibility for paying for the medical treatment has been completely externalized off the insurance company books onto the socialized medical system that runs in parallel to the for profit health care system. Now instead of spreading the cost through insurance, the costs are now being paid with tax money. We all know how efficient that is so the cost to the consumer actually went up; substantially.

    And that wasn’t the worst of it. The new law provided a new income stream for the spend thrifts in the state legislature who like to hide tax increases for pork spending in penalties and assessments which are now four times the fine per violation.

    And that’s not all folks. It all starts as a secondary violation. Shortly that will be dropped, too. In California, the revenuers in law enforcement conduct fishing missions where they pull over people for contrived reasons like registration, weaving inside your lane (perfectly legal and we are guilty of it), defective tail lights, and now seat belt violations. Instead of personal freedom it feels more like a police state where they confiscate your personal property on the spot without due process calling it a impound. You don’t want to follow in California’s foot steps on this one. Neo-fascism spreads like a cancer. This is one strong bond between government and industry you don’t want to let get a foot hold.

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