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Letters to the Editor

Our nanny state criminalizes drivers’ intelligent judgement

Dear Sir:

The Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, issue reprinted an editorial by an Alton, Ill., newspaper supporting the seat belt law as a necessary intrusion.

Reasons for highway fatalities are unreliable. MADD estimates have claimed almost 50 percent of all deaths are due to drunk driving. Currently almost everything seems to be blamed on distracted driving. The Alton article even admits high levels of seat belt use does not appear reflected in fatality statistics.

In opposing the .08 BAC, the American Beverage Institute (“The .08 Debate:  What’s The Harm”, American Beverage Institute, Washington, D. C. )  pointed out that the 1996 U. S. “Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities” showed that deaths from BAC concentrations from .01 to .13 were about equal (i.e. 6.7 percent of all fatalities occurred with .01-.03 BAC, 8.7 percent from .12-.13 BAC) but that almost 2/3 occurred with BAC of .14 and higher.  Nevertheless, a .08 BAC standard now ensnares thousands annually.  Why do voters do things like this?

Similarly lap belts appeared in the 1960’s and were welcomed by prudent drivers.  Recognizing an opportunity, activists and politicians portrayed themselves as benefactors to the endangered motorist by advancing coercion: first mandating belts for drivers, then front seat passengers, then back seat occupants, then child seats, now animals?

Finally, police must ticket motorists regardless of speed.  Why must stopped or slow-moving motorists and their passengers be ticketed when there is no safety value in using a seat belt?

The nanny state has criminalized intelligent judgement regarding alcohol, speed, seat belts, stop signs and lights, etc.

This intrusive, arbitrary exercise of police power is eroding faith in, and respect for, the law.
 

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