While the seat belt issue has long been lost over here, in the US there is still fiery debate on the issue in a number of states with the Feds determined to enforce it despite strenuous opposition. This article is a guest post by Eric Dondero, which appeared in “Pundit Press.” As the issue still rates discussion here, I am putting it up for your consideration. LR has been a consistent campaigner on this issue for some years.
Don’t Wear your Seat Belt – Go to Jail
By Eric Dondero
It’s happening all over the country, all of a sudden. No doubt a result of ObamaCare and the push to cut costs at the expense of individual freedom and choice.
Right now 18 States are holdouts. Seat Belt non-usage is considered a misdemeanor punishable only by a small fine. But the Transportation Committee is making a concerted effort to get all 50 states to support full criminalization.
And in case you thought nobody goes to jail for not wearing a seat belt, check out this Q&A. Even though it may be a misdemeanor, if you fail to show up for your court appearance, or protest the law through civil disobedience, you can go to jail, in some states for up to 6 months.
In Maine, Democrats are pushing to make non-usage a criminal offense. But fortunately, a brave “libertarian” Republican Senator Ronald Collins of York, is standing in their way. (See LibertarianRepublican.net)
In Montana, a Democrat State Senator has just introduced criminalization legislation. But fortunately, Republicans won control of both the state house and senate in Helena last year. So, it’s unlikely to get far.
Opposition to seat belt laws is an easy issue for conservatives to show a libertarian streak. Libertarian Republicans understand that drug legalization, pornography and prostitution don’t quite sit well with our conservative brethren. But seat belt laws? That’s a no-brainer for all self-described advocates of limited government and individual freedom.
Why not take a moment to call your state legislator and ask them to oppose any effort to impose criminal penalties for non-usage of seat belts. If you happen to live in a state where it is already a primary offense, urge him or her to repeal that law, and bring it back down to a misdemeanor.
Americans should not have to go to jail for choosing how to best drive their vehicles safely, most especially if they are not harming or endangering the lives and safety of others.
Eric Dondero is editor and publisher of LibertarianRepublican.net. A US Navy Veteran, he is a former Senior Staffer for US Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, fmr. Libertarian National Committee mbr. and Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus.