I haven't driven, or ridden, in a car without wearing a seat belt in years, so it seems like this law should be a non-issue for me, but, well, it isn't. So, let me start at the beginning.
When this law first came into effect, I was actually unaware that it had passed. I had heard something about it a while back, but it didn't make much of an impression on me at the time. So, I was a bit confused when I saw an informational sign along the highway saying that the "Primary seat belt law" was in effect. I didn't know what that meant, and I wondered just what the secondary law was, and why the primary law was now in effect.
Of course, that was just my own ignorance, and eventually, I found that it meant that you could be pulled over for not wearing your seat belt. I thought it was a bit silly because the police could probably pull about 90 percent (or more) of the drivers over for some other, more obvious offense. For example, I counted 3 cars with burned out headlights in the space of a few miles, and while I was driving at the speed limit during that time, I was passed by at least 10 cars, all of which must have been speeding. There were two occurrences of what I would call reckless driving, and one person who drove for miles with their turn signal on. Personally, I don't care much about any of those things as long as they don't involve me in some way. But the point is, there are plenty of reasons to pull drivers over already, and this law just seems to be an excuse to pull just about anyone over.
So, when I read the above linked headline, I really couldn't understand how there could be "mixed reactions" to a needless, and easily abused law. Unfortunately, that's because I pretty consistently underestimate the stupidity of people. So, here are some quotes from the story.
“I think the seat belt law is great. I think it promotes safety and unfortunately I wasn’t wearing mine, so kind of stupidity on my part. I think seat belts save lives.”Huh? You think seat belts save lives, but you weren't wearing yours? It was already the law, and you weren't wearing your seat belt, but this new law is great because it will promote safety? Why didn't the old law promote safety? And really, if you're not concerned about your own safety, why should I be? This traffic stop didn't even generate revenue for the state; it just cost money because the first offense is simply a warning. And I'm willing to bet that plenty of people will soon revert to not wearing a seat belt after getting their warning.
“I think it’s just big government trying to be a nanny.”I suppose it could be that, but I actually think the government has no real interest in being a nanny. I think it's more about being able to pull people over at will, and that's what bothers me about the law. I don't think it's really possible to tell from a distance whether I'm wearing my seat belt or not. And I suspect that even if I am, and I'm pulled over because the officer thought I wasn't, but then sees that I am wearing it, then I'll still have to produce a driver license, registration, and proof of insurance, all of which I have, but should I have to produce it because someone thought something?
Palmer argues the law won’t change his driving habits.And I'm sure there are plenty of "Palmers" out there. One thing's for sure: the new law won't change my driving habits, except for keeping my license, registration, and proof of insurance readily available. Well, either that or my phone so I can make the awesome "Am I being detained?" video for YouTube.
The first time someone is stopped for violated [sic] the new law, they get a warning. The second time, motorists could face a $45 fine, which can be waived by taking a 30-minute online safety course.As I said earlier in this post, this law will just be a drain on state revenues. I wonder how much that online safety course costs us so that second time offenders can have a real opportunity to learn that "seat belts save lives."
I dunno, maybe the legislators here graduated from school after the schools around here started with the "two warning" rule. When a kid acted up in school, he or she was given two warnings before any action would actually be taken. The unfortunate, and not unexpected, result was that kids knew they could do whatever they wanted twice, and get caught twice, before there would be any real repercussions. And the expectation of two warnings doesn't just disappear when a kid turns 18.
Perhaps, the worst thing of all is that this is just one of 389 awesome new laws that either have, or shortly will, go into effect in Utah, Yay!