The Tennessee State Legislature is considering a tougher seatbelt law that would give police officers the right to pull over motorists for not being buckled up (currently, police cannot pull you over solely for not being buckled up, but can ticket you for it). Such a law is well meaning; but is clearly an intrusion on freedom.
I always wear a seatbelt, so I doubt the law will effect me. Having said that, why should I be forced to? After all, I am harming no one else if I chose not to wear one. Why should the government force me to take this precaution? Shouldn’t I have the right to chose for myself?
Knoxville City Police Chief Phil Keith raises an interesting point, “Seat belt use would also help in reducing the number of injuries associated with car crashes, along with reducing the economic costs associated with crashes.” No doubt he’s right, but, again, the economic costs are not a problem of liberty. They are a problem of socialism, as Walter E. Williams has pointed out. It should not be the responsibility of society to pick up the tab because an individual behaved irresponsibly.
This law, as stated, is well intentioned, but unnecessary. If someone choses not to wear a seatbelt, it should be their right. Likewise, if they are injured for their bad choices, it should be their own responsibility to take care of.