Whether it’s you or the government it’s clear that we all have limited resources. In order to be a success in life we have to make sure that our expenditures do not exceed those resources. So when the “Click-It or Ticket” campaign resumed on TV, I began wondering about whether this was a good use of my dollars as a taxpayer. I decided it was not.
If you’re not familiar with this campaign – it is designed to warn drivers that if they do not wear their seat belts while driving they are going to get arrested and fined. On the surface, this seems like a reasonable way to protect the driving public from themselves and from others. But let’s look below the surface.
There is no doubt that people die while operating a motor vehicle. In 2010 almost 33,000 Americans died while in their vehicles according to the National Highway Transportation Agency’s official report. In addition, many more thousands were injured – some seriously – because of vehicular accidents. So it seems logical that government – operating in our best interest – would enforce laws and encourage conduct which reduce the number of those fatalities. Let’s examine this situation more closely.
There are certain laws of physics which even the government cannot override. One of those is that when two vehicles attempt to occupy the same space at the exact same moment in time, a crash will occur. That is true whether neither, one or both of the drivers of those vehicles is wearing a seat belt. That’s a fact – plain and simple. People die in car accidents because of the accident. At best, wearing a seat belt might mitigate the effect of the accident – but in no way does it eliminate the cause of the potential tragedy – the accident itself. Let’s put it another way.
SEAT BELTS DON’T SAVE LIVES. ATTENTITIVE, COURTEOUS, LAW-ABIDING DRIVERS AVOID ACCIDENTS AND SAVE LIVES.
You probably heard about one of the reasons for the financial meltdown of 2008. It was that Wall Street had engaged in trading “derivative” instruments. Wall Street was taken to task for engaging in these dangerous practices.
Wearing a seat belt is a “derivative” intended to ameliorate the underlying problem. The problem is that there are a lot of dangerous drivers on the road and our law enforcement agents are simply not doing their job in arresting them – making it safer for those of us who are responsible when we are behind the wheel.
Living in Las Vegas I have observed that there is very little enforcement of the speed limit laws. And speeding is probably the most significant cause of traffic accidents. Since we have very few Dunkin’ Donuts in town, I’m not sure where the Metro Police are hanging out. They’re obviously not patrolling the streets and arresting speeding violators.
I have tried to monitor this myself. My Volvo is equipped with cruise control which I have used in order to validate my observations. It doesn’t matter whether I’m “cruising” at 35, 45 or 65 – whatever the posted limit is – I cannot go a mile without having at least 10 or more drivers pass me by as though I were going in reverse. They have to be doing at least 15 to 20 miles over the limit – with absolute impunity.
If the police are not arresting these speeders – what is the likelihood that they are going to arrest them for not wearing a seat belt? Zip. Zilch. Nil. Nada.
So the money that is spent advertising the “Click-It Or Ticket” campaign is just a complete waste of money. But that’s government at its finest.
And there go more of your tax dollars “at work”.