Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cue the "Deliverance" music

I look at hundreds of stories a night while getting the paper out, and it takes a lot to surprise me, but a story out of Georgia the other night got my attention. It seems that adults in Georgia who drive or ride in pickup trucks don't have to wear seat belts. People in cars do. People in SUVs do. But not folks in pickups. Perhaps the state is trying to give people in pickup trucks more freedom of movement to spit out tobacco juice or to open the door and reach down to snatch up some fresh road kill for dinner. But seriously, the only rationale for the exemption, based on the story I read, is that people in rural areas don't want the "gubmint" telling them what to do. This is similar to the stupidity we have in Pennsylvania that requires people in massive Humvees to buckle up while folks riding motorcycles don’t have to wear helmets. But it appears that officials in Georgia are having second thoughts about the pickup truck exception, and the change of opinion is being fueled by cold, hard cash. The federal government is withholding about $4 million from Georgia because of its seat belt law loophole, and with Georgia, like most other states, facing a financial crunch, that money would come in handy. It’s also estimated that changing the law would save 21 lives and $62 million in accident-related costs such as medical expenses annually. Said state Sen. Don Thomas, a Republican doctor who favors ending the loophole, “It’s better to prevent (the deaths) than to plan funerals.” Hard to argue with that.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do have to hand it to Georgia in one area, though -- you can buy alcohol in a grocery store there, unlike a certain commonwealth that comes to mind...

--Brad Hundt

January 14, 2009 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I can't say enough bad things about our Soviet-style state store system. And I won't even try to list them all.

January 14, 2009 at 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do Pennsylvanians point fingers at Georgia's law when we have a ridiculous law that allows motorcylce riders not to wear helmets?

January 14, 2009 at 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about FREEDOM to choose our own actions in particular when the effect no one but our own safety. Wearing seat belts is a smart idea, BUT it should be a choice for adults.
Please don't use the increase of insurance costs. Insurance companies should not curtail freedom of individuals in the United States, because it is not a far step from seat belts to controlling our food intake.

Let Freedom Ring

January 15, 2009 at 2:39 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I wonder if they have strict guidelines of what constitutes a pickup truck... does that goofy Subaru Baja count? What about the original hybrid-- the el Camino?

January 15, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

My grandfather had an El Camino, and I just saw one the other day. They were pretty spiffy.

January 15, 2009 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger miss bess said...

Can anyone explain to me what not wearing a helmet does for a motorcyclist? Is it the thrill of gnats in one's teeth? Road dirt in one's hair? Or the sweet smell of big-rig fumes? Honestly, is it just the wind-in-hair/open road thing?

Having grown up with a dad who took my brother and me for summertime rides on his motorcycle, I can't imagine what I must have lost out on because I was wearing a helmet. I can remember rides with great views of Southwestern Pa., the loud and exciting sounds of the bike, the road passing quickly beneath my 10-year-old feet, the cool squeek my helmet made as I'd raise and lower the face "screen," let alone a number of memorable rides with Dad - I must've been missing out big time.

January 16, 2009 at 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one momma and I have one Papa and I don't need the government to be either..

January 18, 2009 at 12:30 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

I'm simply looking for consistency. If the state is going to demand that people in cars protect themselves, then it should do the same for motorcyclists. I would have no problem if they remove all laws requiring seat belts, helmets, etc., for adults. Leaving self-protection up to the individual tends to clean up the gene pool.

January 18, 2009 at 9:23 AM  

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