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.