Saturday, August 30, 2008

Buckle up suitably Idaho

draft 4

Recent reports show that Idahoans overall seat-belt use has dropped to barely three out of four, with Southeast Idaho lowest at 62 percent. Interestingly, the seat belt usage rate in Washington is over 96% while in Oregon it’s at 95%.

The primary reason for this difference is not that Oregon and Washington travelers are more enlightened, but that they will receive stiffer fines than Idahoans will. Caught Beltless in Seattle renders a $124 fine; while Oregon’s penalty is $90, however, Idahoans (above 18) only get lightly wrist-slapped for a measly ten bucks – or the equivalent of a small can of gas.

Of all the safety features added to passenger vehicles in the past 50 years, safety belts account for more than half the lives saved in passenger crashes. If we cannot improve this basic safety routine on our own, perhaps some of us really do need Big Brother’s powerful influence to make us tighten our belts properly.

In this land already lanced by legendary Larry Craig laugh-abouts, more Idahoans should buckle up and stay buckled up, before we become the butt of even crueler thinning the herd, Darwin award leveled jokes.

Note: Here is the final draft in the Statesman (letter 3):

Note: Here is a follow up story in the Times News about consideration of tightening the seat belt law:

2nd follow up:

The Statesman made this same subject a lead editorial on November 26, 2008:

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