Fort Wayne Observed brings us a story from the Evansville Courier Press regarding an opinion from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute on whether law enforcement can ticket occupants of the bed of a pickup truck for failing to use a seat belt.
The opinion is an interpretation of IC 9-19-10 as amended by HEA 1237-2007 (caution, the online Indiana Code cite has not been amended to reflect the new legislation as of the date I type this.) I don’t think much of the opinion’s reliance on past legislation or past incarnations of the bill or the newly created exceptions as a reason to think pickup bed passengers are exempt from the seat belt law. However, if you read the text of the legislation itself (a novel idea) there is reason for concern. It says:
Each occupant of a motor vehicle equipped with a safety belt that meets the standards stated in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 208 (49 CFR 571.208); and is standard equipment installed by the manufacturer; shall have a safety belt properly fastened about the occupant’s body at all times when the vehicle is in forward motion.
(internal subdivisions omitted).
The jist of this is that if your vehicle has seat belts installed when you get it, you have to use them or risk a ticket. Truck beds don’t generally have seat belts installed. So, if you’re riding back there, I don’t think you have to use a seat belt. You deserve a head injury for being that stupid, but not a ticket.
Isn’t it already illegal for kids to ride in the back of a pickup truck?
I think so, by virtue of a law requiring all kids in a vehicle to be buckled. I don’t know if there is something more specific than that.
When do we get a law that say you have to wear a coat and hat outside if it’s cold so we do not sick?I am so sick and tired of the state telling me what I can and can’t do about my own safety concerning seatbelts and riding in the back of trucks.We kids grew up in a rural area where everyone rode in the back of turcks going fishing or on a picnic or a Sunday backroad drive.These were backroad drives and traveling.Was it dangerous?Probably to some extent but so is just getting out of bed and going to work or anything else.It’s called living your life and if we are to be insulated from every little tiny thing in this world by the government what’s the point of even living??
The fact is that a seatbelt affects no one in a negative way except the wearer.It’s not speeding,running a red light,or driving impaired and the sole purpose of this law is not because law enforcement or the state is SO So worried about my safety it’s because the state chose to take the federal bribe of more money if they passed it and for the police it gives them just another reason to pull a pesron over and nose around without ever searching your vehicle,you know run a 10-27 on a person,check them out so to speak.
Since the state is so worried about my safety I am still waiting for them to do something about the reckless cell phone jackasses who have ran me off the road numerous times and pose a far greater danger to my person than if I wear a seatbelt or not!!
As far as I am concerned the state can take their seatbelt law and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!!!!!!
Just pass a law that says people who don’t wear seatbelts are giving implied consent to pay cash for all injuries attributable to their not using the seatbelt. That way, failure to wear the belt will truly only affect that person.
Also just pass a law that people who get hurt by not wearing a helmet on a motorcycle and have a crash have to pay cash and not use their insurance.Also pass a law that they must pay cash if they fall off their roof while cleaning their gutters if they do not have a safety line on attached around the chimney or tied off.Also pass a law saying they will have to pay cash if while mowing their riding lawn mower turns over on them as most of these do not have a safety belt.Also pass a law that if someone goes out not properly dressed for winter weather and gets desperately ill they have to pay cash because after all they should have known better shouldn’t they?Or maybe just wait long enough and maybe our babysetter the state will come along and make more laws to protect my well being!
Your sensitivity on this issue seems out of proportion to what you’re being asked to do. It’s a belt. I agree about the motorcycle riders. The rest of it just sounds like crying. I’m just disinclined to want to pay higher premiums for the million-dollar patients lying in ventilator wards solely because they didn’t want to listen to “The Man” and wear a belt while travelling along the road at 70 mph. How about this–you have to declare when you buy insurance whether you intend to wear a seatbelt. If you say no, clearly you are at a higher risk for more catastrophic (expensive) injuries, particularly head injuries. You then pay a higher premium. If you buy standard insurance, but don’t wear your seatbelt, then your insurer can opt out of covering you.
Otherwise, your “too cool for school” avoidance of the dreaded belt DOES affect me, in higher premiums.
I don’t know about you, but my auto insurer already DOES ask whether I wear a seat belt (I do, always), & that I assume is reflected in my premium. I would like to know if there are any empirical studies out there spelling out just how much it actually costs society overall for a certain percentage of the population not to wear seat belts, taking into account that a certain percentage would wear them voluntarily in response to educational initiatives only and a certain percentage will never wear them, regardless of there being a law requiring them to do so. In other words, does this cost justify giving police an excuse to seize (pull over) citizens who otherwise are doing nothing wrong &, oftentimes, go on “fishing expeditions”? My gut says it doesn’t. Having freedom from undue government interference means some people are going to do things that hurt themselves, resulting in indirect costs to society as a whole. Part of the price we pay for freedom (cliche time!) Why not make eating unhealthy foods illegal? I indirectly pay for that with my health insurance premiums. Oops, some places are already moving that direction (banning trans-fats, etc.).
I don’t think the police should stop you just for this. I know the law is written that way. But really I’m concerned about the consequences for the rest of us once the crash occurs. Unbelted driving isn’t likely to cause a crash, so by all means don’t waste resources pursuing violators before the crash to save them from themselves. But once you get in a crash, your stupidity for not using safety devices should not result in increased cost to me.
Freedom’s great and all, but it’s strange what issues will cause someone to feel like it’s being lost. I wonder how many people going on and on about the “police state” on the Star message board just shrugged when it was revealed that the federal government was reviewing peoples’ phone and email communications, purchases, and library records without warrants? No, they’re going to take a stand on *seatbelts*.
The point about “dangerous food” is a good one. But should we not ever enact any safety rules (such as the seatbelt law) simply because we can’t solve every other problem, too? Weigh each problem on its own merits.
Other than the seatbelt being a symbol of oppression, what practical reason do people have for not wearing them? Are they too “confining”? Are people just reluctant to learn a new habit? Or is the resistance largely symbolic?
Re: fishing expeditions
I seem to recall drafting this language or some variation of it when I worked for the legislature. They wanted seat belts to be “primarily enforceable.” But, there was some concern that police officers might be tempted to use alleged seat belt violations as a pretext for stopping cars. (There is always the “veered over the line” excuse, in any case.) So, a belt violation isn’t a very good excuse for a fishing expedition given the way the law is written.
Well, cops can’t search your car solely for a seat belt violation, no more than they could for a speeding violation, but they can bug you to give supposedly voluntary consent to search, or take their sweet time writing a seat belt ticket while they wait for a dog to be brought in to sniff your car (perfectly okay, according to the U.S. Supreme Court).
And then they smell the marijuana and, alas, freedom is lost.
You know, I’m mostly with you on this, Glenn. When my parents and I argue (or, when I argue with most older people) about the government wiretapping situation, their response that “if I’m not doing anything wrong, it shouldn’t bother me” grates on me. That’s not how a free society should work.
But what if the drug dog was riding along with the trooper to begin with, and finds the drugs on a seatbelt violation? Point one would be if you’re violating major laws, don’t be dumb enough to get tripped up by a minor one. I think Ted Bundy was stopped due to a light being burned out on his car. That’s going to happen (here’s hoping homicidal maniacs always have such bad luck). Wasn’t McVeigh making some kind of dumbass political statement by having no license plate? Again, that’s his right to be stupid and “political”, but points off for doing it while he was trying to not attract attention to himself immediately subsequent to blowing up a federal building. So if you’re doing something mobile and not wanting “The Man” to know, it’s best you buckle up that day to not bring undue attention to yourself.
Yeah, it’s inconvenient if the seatbelt deal is the only thing you’ve done wrong and you have to sit there while they give you the slow treatment. We had this all the time when I was traveling with my father as a truck driver. Getting waved over at random at the weigh stations for spot inspections, drug dogs in the cab, getting stopped at random on back roads by the DOT station wagon and sidelined for an hour or two. It sucked.
The difference for me between wiretaps and seatbelts is that in wiretaps you can be singled out due to political beliefs, etc. With the seatbelt stop, anything else they catch you doing is probably at least a violation of a law you were aware of and chose to violate (open container, drugs, etc.)
I suppose that’s true about the wiretaps, T, but the seatbelt law can be selectively enforced based on the race of the driver, things like that, so I think they both could be subject to abuse.