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Buckle up: We don't need a law

February 08. 2018 10:07PM

Bad ideas never die.

Sometimes, they do take several years to come back.

For the first time since 2009, New Hampshire lawmakers are considering whether to require every driver to wear a seatbelt.

New Hampshire is the only state without a mandatory seatbelt law for adults. We do require that passengers under 18 years of age buckle up, and children up to 7 years old use a car seat.

Wearing seatbelts is a good idea, and it saves lives. But not every good idea needs to be written into the law. Making behavior mandatory does not always lead to the results that social engineers envision.

New Hampshire has the lowest reported seatbelt use in the nation. But drivers in other states have more reason to claim to wear their seatbelts, since it’s illegal not to do so.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, New Hampshire had 130 fatal crashes in 2016, resulting 136 deaths. That is one death per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2016, below the national average of 1.16 deaths per 100,000 miles. Thirty-two states had higher fatality rates.

The most pernicious argument for a seatbelt law is the cost of treating crash victims. It is fair warning that as we continue to socialize our health care system, busybodies will try to justify attempts to regulate our behavior as a cost-savings measure.

We encourage drivers to buckle up. We don’t need a seatbelt law.

Public Safety Social issues State Government Editorial

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