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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Do we need Big Brother to tell us to buckle up?

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. Being 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. More Idahoans should start using common sense and buckle up before our state becomes the butt of more cruel Darwin Award jokes.

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