Good article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on the truck seat belt and road fund formula entitled: Journal Gazette | 12/12/2004 | Truck-plate fight looms for seat belts
The two basic issues are that 1) for seatbelts, there are going to be folks who think their rights are being compromised by having a truck and being required to wear a seatbelt; and 2) the formula restructuring that would likely help rural counties at the expense of metropolitan counties. I don’t believe the article mentions that the proposed seatbelt law also requires backseat passengers to be belted in. As I understand it, the road fund is currently divided up by counting the number of passenger vehicles (but not pickup trucks or SUVs registered as trucks) and giving each county its pro rata share based on the ratio of its passenger vehicles to the total number of passenger vehicles. Throwing pickup trucks into the mix would help your county if more of the counties vehicles were pickups than in other counties.
I wasn’t much taken by the article’s reliance on “local resident Jason Eminger” for constitutional analysis. He says that he shouldn’t be told to wear a seatbelt because “if I hurt anybody, it’ll be myself.” That’d be fine logic if Mr. Eminger is heavily insured against personal injury. But, my guess is that if Mr. Eminger required 30 years of tube feeding and diaper changes, it’d be the Indiana taxpayers or his family who bore the heaviest burden, neither of whom Mr. Eminger would have consulted before “exercising his right” not to wear a seat belt. I’m generally a hardcore Bill of Rights sort of guy, but wearing a seat belt is too trivial a burden with too great a benefit for me to get worked up over.
Back on the subject of the road formula, the article notes that former Senator Borst headed up the Finance Committee and was from Indy so he generally sat on previous road formula change bills. I’m not sure who will head up the Senate Finance Committee.