Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

WA seat belt usage continues to climb

Governor Chris Gregoire announced today that Washingtonians lead the nation in buckling up when they get in their cars. A recently released study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that seat belt use in Washington has climbed an additional tenth of a point to 96.4%.

It's thanks to a stronger public safety law passed by our Legislature that we are seeing these improvements:
In June 2002, when Washington's primary seat belt law went into effect, approximately 82% of drivers wore seatbelts. Since the adoption of the law and the launch of the "Click it or Ticket" project, seat belt use has climbed steadily during the years.
The libertarian right wing has and will continue to complain about the "nanny state", but they seem to forget that a foremost responsibility of government is to provide protection, not only of our liberties but also our safety.

That is why we have the Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Patrols, and thousands of police and fire departments nationwide (plus emergency medical response). We have police forces to ensure enforcement of our laws, like the law that requires occupants of a private motor vehicle to wear seat belts.

The Legislature passed that law because of the overwhelming evidence that seat belts save lives and prevent injuries. The benefits of wearing a seat belt are unquestioned, as the Governor's office points out in today's release:
Studies show that seat belts reduce serious injuries by 69% and deaths by 45%, and studies conducted specifically in Washington show that medical costs from collisions amount to over $276 million each year in Washington.

An unbelted vehicle occupant’s medical costs average $11,000 more per collision than those of a belted vehicle occupant's.
By preventing or reducing the likelihood of serious injuries (or death), the cost of emergency care is reduced, and lives are saved. There's no good argument that can be made against that.

The 2007 survey of Washingtonians was conducted in July, included 100,532 vehicle drivers and passengers, and was performed on a number of different types of roads using the standards established by the NHTSA.


Anonymous Linoge said...

Sorry, Andrew, but the government is not responsible for its people's safety. Never was, never will be (at least hopefully not). In fact, the Supreme Court, as well as lower courts, has ruled, over and over again, that governmental entities (such as the police department, interestingly enough) are not responsible or accountable for our individual safety. Full stop. End of story.

See, there exist people who are still intelligent enough to know that you cannot legislate away stupidity - it is one of our most basic natural right, and there is no way around it. Otherwise, if countries were to try, in legislating us to death for our "safety", they would, systematically, and methodically, rob us of our liberties that you supposedly also enjoy. And that is something I simply will not tolerate.

September 26, 2007 8:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home