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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Buckle up suitably Idaho

Version 3

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 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 do better, perhaps some of us really do need Big Brother’s powerful influence to make us tighten our belts properly.

In this land already laced by legendary Larry Craig laughs, more Idahoans should buckle up and stay buckled up, before we become the butt of even crueler Darwin Award jokes.

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