The One Minute Case Against Mandatory Seatbelt Laws

Driver safety is not a special prerogative of the state

Seat belt laws are enforced “for our own good.” But traffic accidents are not leading causes of injury and death, nor is buckling seatbelts the most beneficial thing you can do for your health. Daily exercise, nutritious meals, intellectual enrichment, and regular sexual activity have all been shown to have a positive impact on mind and body. The issue is not whether seatbelts are beneficial, but whether the state has the right to coerce us for our own good.

You own yourself

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially prohibited the ownership of another human being. To own something is to exclusively control and use it for one’s own purposes. We recognize that control is ownership, even when property nominally belongs to another party. Thus, under the regime of the National Socialist German Workers Party, industry belonged neither to the original owners, nor to the workers, but to the Nazi party, and in the Soviet Union it belonged to the Communist Party, not “the people.” Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s chief propagandist, explained it thus: “To be a socialist, is to submit the I to the thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole.” If the state controls every aspect of the individual’s life for the “common good,” then individuals become property of the state.

Safety regulations lead to reckless behavior

Common sense indicates that individuals are more likely to be concerned with their safety than politicians. Even when they aren’t, safety laws may have a counterproductive effect. According to studies cited by the Independence Institute,

When subjects who normally did not wear seat belts were asked to do so, they were observed to drive faster, followed more closely, and braked later. In other words, people who are naturally cautious voluntarily choose to wear seat belts, and voluntarily drive safely. When reckless people are forced to wear seat belts, they “compensate” for the increased safety by driving more recklessly. Furthermore, no jurisdiction that has passed a seat belt law has shown evidence of a reduction in road accident death.

Externalized healthcare costs are only a problem under socialism

Those who support outlawing risky behavior argue about the “social costs” of medical treatment for accidents. But this is only a problem for a socialist state. In a free society, a person is injured due to their own recklessness is responsible for their own treatment. However, in a socialist economy, everyone is responsible for paying for everyone else’s health. It’s not a coincidence that advocates of seatbelt laws are supporters of socialized healthcare as well.

“Click it or Ticket” is a step towards totalitarianism

There is no logical end to laws that replace individual judgment with politically-mandated notions of what risks we are and are not allowed to take. If it desirable to the state to control individuals while driving, eating, working, and seeing the doctor, it follows that the state should regulate every other aspect of their lives as well. Without a principled and uncompromising defense of the individual’s right to own his life, we are reduced to being property of the omnipotent State, being permitted to live only at the mercy of a bureaucrat’s decision that we contribute to the “common good.”

Further reading:

8 Comments

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8 Responses to The One Minute Case Against Mandatory Seatbelt Laws

  1. Pingback: Truth, Justice, and the American Way » The fascist philosophy behind "Click it or Ticket"

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  4. Alexis B.

    I’m doing a research paper on why we shouldn’t have manditory seatbelt laws. This is one of my sources for said paper. All of this is a fairly good argument and supports my opinions very well.

  5. John St.G

    This is either an argument for laziness, or an argument simply to argue. I personally hate having to wear a seatbelt simply because the law says I should, but I have seen first hand what not wearing a seatbelt can lead to. My youngest uncle was killed 23 years ago when he was in an accident while not wearing a seatbelt. My family is is still greatly affected by this loss even to this day. Buckle up people, if not for your self, do it for others.

    • FreemanDjango

      Wow, JSG,
      You REALLY don’t get the point of the article, do you? The issue is whether you should FORCE someone to wear the belt – NOT whether it’s a statistically good idea. Buckle up or not – it’s your choice, John. Just like all the crap people eat, drink and SMOKE every day. It is apparently hard for you to separate your emotions from your arguments, which is understandable. But, when you accuse someone else of being lazy or argumentative because you can’t think logically, you cross the line… Wake up and smell the coffee!

    • rosetta

      This is an argument for FREE WILL. There are people who medically cannot wear them, by making click it or ticket laws WE are constantly harassed questioned and treated like criminals for doing what we must to preserve our lives. OH and by the way, you have no right to dictate if others have to protect themselves, it’s called freewill and liberty, not slavery and government dictations.

  6. Jayson

    Well, I am suffering from AVN, which is the lack of blood to my hip bones causing death. I know someone in the legal aspect of this and seatbelts during a crash can cause many issues with a person’s health. The hell I have been through with this has made me wish I hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt and honestly would have survived without any rastraint as I have before. This is something like the helmet law in some states, I know people that would be dead if they were wearing a helmet, the friction of the helmet would have snapped their neck on contact with the pavement. It seems that this is another way to increase revenue in order to place money in the pockets of people that already have enough to live.

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