Letter: Seatbelts should be a matter of choice
I am writing in regard to a recent letter written by Sen. Steve Murphy concerning Minnesota's need for a primary seatbelt law. I must agree with Sen. Murphy that seatbelts save lives. I choose to use mine every time I enter a vehicle. I do, howev...
I am writing in regard to a recent letter written by Sen. Steve Murphy concerning Minnesota's need for a primary seatbelt law. I must agree with Sen. Murphy that seatbelts save lives. I choose to use mine every time I enter a vehicle. I do, however, question whether it is prudent for our lawmakers to pass legislation that infringes on one's freedom of choice simply because they deem it in our best interests.
If this is the case, why stop at seatbelts? I'm sure crash helmets would save many lives. We could make illegal to be overweight or not exercise, and tobacco could be banned within the state boundaries. We could go as far as to make long pants and longsleeve shirts mandatory in summer months, thus drastically reducing incidents of skin cancer. I'm sure lobbyists for the insurance industry would favor these new laws, and they would no doubt save countless lives first while saving millions on health care costs. We would just have to disregard the fact that no one would want to live here.
Murphy also points out that passage of a primary seat belt law would entitle Minnesota to $18 million in federal funds, thus making it a fiscally responsible decision. I realize senators from every state for some time have worked hard to bring home every last federal dollar they can. The idea is to get and spend every penny before another state lays its hands on it. Federal dollars don't just appear, but are raised by taxing us, and just gathering them and spending them doesn't necessarily constitute fiscal responsibility.
If senators are truly concerned with the issue of fiscal responsibility, perhaps their highest priority should be balancing the budget instead of enacting another law that chips away at our civil liberties.