Seat Belt Laws


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Liberty's Edge

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Disenchanter wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
If you thought the statistics weren't relevant, you should have argued that from the start. You didn't. You decided that your statistics should be acceptable for the argument. Now you're saying no one's should. If I didn't know better, I'd suggest that you know you can't win the argument and so are changing the rules to suit yourself.

So let me see if I understand you correctly.

The thread should have follwed this outline:
I presented an expanded explanation of my stance, using the statistics that we are inundated with.
You called me on not having the data to back it up. I agree with that actually.
While I was proceeding to look for data to support either stance, several people stated I was wrong because the statistics say so.
I should have told them to go stuff themselves, because the standards of the thread have been elevated above that - essentially it had.

Then what?

What I did, was try to explain that no data was available, and that if the statistics are good enough, there is a study that claims the mandatory seat belt law doesn't help the overall statistics.

Am I to believe I shouldn't have been that respectful?

Ok. One explanation, then I'm off. Some people, me and political discussion don't mix. It appears you fall into the category that I can't get into controversial issues with without losing my rag.

But: From what I understand your position to be it is the following: You support the libertarian position that you should be allowed to drive without a seatbelt. The safety of seatbelts is not relevant to this argument, it's purely about the philosophy of "why can't I choose to risk my own life. It's my life, after all".

However, by starting off this discussion with statistics on the safety of seat belts, you make that also part of the discussion topic, even though it isn't relevant. I'm only in this thread because your first post had some assumptions in it that I didn't think were supportable statistically.

As the original topic, as presented above, isn't that interesting to me, I'll therefore bow out before this degenerates into proper flame territory where you'll be far more comfortable than I (purely about avatars, but I figure a fire giant is better in hot places than a snow flurry).


Paul Watson wrote:
However, by starting off this discussion with statistics on the safety of seat belts, you make that also part of the discussion topic, even though it isn't relevant. I'm only in this thread because your first post had some assumptions in it that I didn't think were supportable statistically.

I admit that happened.

I also admit that from your very first post I have been trying to limit the thread to actual data numbers, and that my position isn't about the usefulness of seat belts.

I also admit that I failed on occasion, but tried to bring it back around afterwords - usually successfully.

Paul Watson wrote:
As the original topic, as presented above, isn't that interesting to me, I'll therefore bow out before this degenerates into proper flame territory where you'll be far more comfortable than I (purely about avatars, but I figure a fire giant is better in hot places than a snow flurry).

There is a reason I chose, and have stuck with, the fire giant avatar. I can be quite a hot head. I don't deny it.

Dark Archive

Disenchanter wrote:


So let me see if I can sum up:

Presenting statistics without actual data to back it up is wrong if it goes against conventional wisdom. But it is alright if it supports conventional wisdom. (I'm not even claiming your presented statistics are wrong here.)

Please show me where I sid that presenting statistics without th actual data is wrong. What I said was that the statistics presented by you to bolster your argument were actually an argument against reversing manditory seat belt laws. In fact the presentation and statistic you linked to were prepared for the express purpose of expanding manidtory selt blt usage. My point was that it does not do any good to say "this is why I don't trust the numbers on the issue" and then link to an article that advocates the exact opposite position as you. As for looking at the raw data, it took a tam of 30 people 18 monthes of doing nothing for 8 hours a day but reading incident reports to go through the material. I can't imagine how long it would take a single person.

I a sorry for what happened to your cousin, but what happened to hime is an example of an extraodinary circumstance. The basis for the law is what happens 98% of the time, not what happns at best 2% of the time. Before you think I am being flippent about the situation, let me tell you aout my cousin, whom my son is named for. He was driving a mountain road when his truck blew a tire and rolled.

My cousin was wearing a seat belt but his passanger was not. The passanger, by some twist of fate was thrown clear and suffered only minor abrasions. My cousin's seat belt partially failed and he was crushed by the truck as it rolled over the top of him. The seat belt had failed enough that he was partally in and partially out of the truck when it rolled. Because of my experience dealing with accident victims, I was asked by my aunt and uncle to identify the body.

I still have a mental imae of him pop into my mind every time I fasten a seat belt, but I wear one anyway. I also do not elieve that requiring someone to wear a seat belt is an undue imposition on people's liberty. There are two reasons for this. One is that there is no one holding a gun to your head forcing you to buckle your seat belt. You may still choose nt to wear it, but you choose to accept te onsequence if you don't. The second is that when you aply fr and recieve a driver's liscence, you agree to certain obligations. Laws against drunk drivig and speeding also fall into the area of restraints on liberty, should we make those voluntary also? I'm not trying to pick a fight here, Ijust want to know how deep your commitment to individual liberties lie.

You also mentioned that the government does not ban things like tobacco. This is true, however they do ban them from public places where you will be interacting with other people. Sometimes it is easy to forget that we re interacting with other people while we drive around in our metal cocoons. However, the roads are a public plce, just like a park or an office building. Some times the righs of the many, in this case the right to be as safe as possible, out ways the right of the individual. While it did not touch on this issue precisely, the Supreme Court ruling in Reynolds V. United States seems to fit this situation.

U.S. Supreme Court wrote:
Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order...To permit this would be to make the professed...belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

No one is telling you that you cannot believe seat belts are bad, but when it comes to the action, Congress has a duty to act in the interest of the greatest good for the greatest number. That is why it may be an imposition on libverty, but it is not an undue imposition on liberty. And that is why the Founders would approve of seat belt laws.


David Fryer wrote:
No one is telling you that you cannot believe seat belts are bad, but when it comes to the action, Congress has a duty to act in the interest of the greatest good for the greatest number. That is why it may be an imposition on libverty, but it is not an undue imposition on liberty. And that is why the Founders would approve of seat belt laws.

All well and good, but then if that was true, why don't school buses require seatbelts?

The Exchange

That's not a very impressive argument against seat belts, more an indication of inertia and vested interests.

Dark Archive

pres man wrote:
David Fryer wrote:
No one is telling you that you cannot believe seat belts are bad, but when it comes to the action, Congress has a duty to act in the interest of the greatest good for the greatest number. That is why it may be an imposition on libverty, but it is not an undue imposition on liberty. And that is why the Founders would approve of seat belt laws.
All well and good, but then if that was true, why don't school buses require seatbelts?

Because people aren't thinking with their dipstick, Jimmy.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
That's not a very impressive argument against seat belts, more an indication of inertia and vested interests.

Who is arguing against seat belts? Just that arguing that the government actually gives a crap is b.s.

And yup, the kid in the back certainly got his share of inertia.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
pres man wrote:


Who is arguing against seat belts? Just that arguing that the government actually gives a crap is b.s.

Actually, government does... but it's made up of people who care a lot about a variety of different things including not running up the costs of transportation to the schools and not forcing the school bus manufacturers to take a hit on their profits because they're putting 60-odd seat belts on the bus. So government compromises, frequently on the side of reducing direct costs rather than indirect costs due to lack of safety. It's pretty much always been this way in transportation safety, workplace safety, consumer product safety...


David Fryer, I have to let you know I am exasperated. You don't appear to be reading my posts. Normally, that doesn't bother me. I don't expect people to read my posts. But when some one is debating me, especially when they are trying to tell me what I am saying, I expect them to do better.

I'll put the rest of my response behind a spoiler, as it gets quite long.

Spoiler:
David Fryer wrote:
Disenchanter wrote:


So let me see if I can sum up:

Presenting statistics without actual data to back it up is wrong if it goes against conventional wisdom. But it is alright if it supports conventional wisdom. (I'm not even claiming your presented statistics are wrong here.)

Please show me where I sid that presenting statistics without th actual data is wrong.

You didn't.

But from the very second post of this thread, with my confirmation in the third post of this thread, As well as my confirmation here, here, here, here. here, here, here, here, and here (as well as others), the thread has not been about statistics. Of course, you could not believe my word on the matter... But then everything else is moot, and why are you wasting your time asking someone you feel is lying about their opinion?

It was meant as a general summary.

If I was trying to use statistics, I would have thrown out my own. Counting all the accidents I have been in, and those I am very familiar with, 100% of the people not wearing seat belts did not receive any lasting injuries. Of those that wore seat belts, 66.67% of the people received lasting injuries, and of those 50% received irreversible injuries.

But what did I really just tell you? All of the statistics are honest. They aren't cooked. They aren't manipulated. But what did I say?

I've tried to keep this thread away from statistics without insulting those that believe in them so strongly. My mistake.

David Fryer wrote:
What I said was that the statistics presented by you to bolster your argument were actually an argument against reversing manditory seat belt laws. In fact the presentation and statistic you linked to were prepared for the express purpose of expanding manidtory selt blt usage. My point was that it does not do any good to say "this is why I don't trust the numbers on the issue" and then link to an article that advocates the exact opposite position as you.

It was presented as an example of how values are mis reported.

It was presented as an example of how values are mis reported.
It was presented as an example of how values are mis reported.
Oh, and as the icing on that triple layer cake, it supports my stance that if people believe that seat belts are so important, they should be advocating for seat belts on school buses as well.
But, it was presented as an example of how values are mis reported.
It was presented as an example of how values are mis reported.

And just to clarify, in case I wasn't too clear:

Disenchanter wrote:

Why I don't trust the statistics people use, WARNING: This is a direct link to a PDF file.

As a nice added bonus, it helps my argument that if seat belts are so important school buses should have them too.

EDIT:: A MSN article that supports the claim the school bus accident reports are misleading at best.

New emphasis is mine.

Disenchanter wrote:

And the possibility that accident statistics were misreported doesn't bother you at all? (I just reread the MSNBC article, and it didn't say what I thought it said. I thought it said that the new study revealed more than twice the number of accident results... It details that more than 8000 injuries & fatalities happen outside of accidents.)

And that the cost versus cost of life analysis occurs on these misreported statistics?

Not to mention the motivation behind misreporting statistics?

From the PDF, page 5:

Presentation 2005 wrote:

Carol Fast 1987 ...

An example of how bad the reporting system is in this
country is the fact that California claims that there
were only 5 deaths in the last 10 years in Calif.. What
about the 29 who died at Martinez, Calif. in 1976 in
one bad accident? I guess because they were on their
way to sing in another school they are not REAL
school children. They didn't even make California's
statistics for deaths related to school bus accidents.

One year in NJ in the very early 70's the Senate
Education Dept. claimed there were 13 minor injuries
for the year and said, "why worry - only scraped
knees... Physicians For Automotive Safety found that
in one accident alone there had been 48 children taken
to the hospital - 6 with fractures. It had been a roll-
over. When PAS members went to the State Ed Dept.
they were told that those children didn't count - they
were on a field trip.

So as you can see, I was presenting it as an example of how values are mis reported.

David Fryer wrote:
You also mentioned that the government does not ban things like tobacco. This is true, however they do ban them from public places where you will be interacting with other people. Sometimes it is easy to forget that we re interacting with other people while we drive around in our metal cocoons. However, the roads are a public plce, just like a park or an office building. Some times the righs of the many, in this case the right to be as safe as possible, out ways the right of the individual.

I only mentioned tobacco once, and then it was as an example among a list of others. Other people used tobacco as an argument. Which further suggests you aren't putting in the effort of reading my posts.

From this post:

Disenchanter wrote:
And where does physics prove me wrong? I mean, aside from proving that by my very stance no one should drive since the very act of a moving car clearly puts others at risk?

So clearly I don't forget that roads are a public place, and that the very act of driving puts others at risk. But how does my decision to not wear a seat belt put any others at more risk than me just driving?

David Fryer wrote:
Congress has a duty to act in the interest of the greatest good for the greatest number.

And that is such a hollow point. Look at all the other things we are privileged enough to do without risk of punitive action. All of which are just as risky to the individual. Hell just watch one episode of Scarred and tell me that the government is out for the greatest good for any number. Pay particular note to the number of those cases where people are actually wearing the required safety gear.

I want to go back to something else in your post.

David Fryer wrote:
Laws against drunk drivig and speeding also fall into the area of restraints on liberty, should we make those voluntary also? I'm not trying to pick a fight here, Ijust want to know how deep your commitment to individual liberties lie.

From the very first post in this thread, third sentence:

Disenchanter wrote:
I'm against the government making laws preventing people from treating their own bodies any way they want. Unless it can be proven, clearly, that their actions put others at risk, I don't feel government should have any say. I'm Chaotic that way. ;-)

Assuming that isn't clear enough, from this post:

Disenchanter wrote:
For further "interesting" reading (depending on your point of view) there is this page about speed limits, and "common misconceptions." (I believe them, but I am not trying to pass it off as fact.)

And from this post

Disenchanter wrote:
Careful now. You are starting to stray a bit away from my position. I have already stated that I am against government interaction unless it can be proven your actions put others at risk. And drunk driving falls into that area nicely.

So I submit that the answer to all of your questions are actually in this thread.

Dark Archive

Disenchanter wrote:

David Fryer, I have to let you know I am exasperated. You don't appear to be reading my posts. Normally, that doesn't bother me. I don't expect people to read my posts. But when some one is debating me, especially when they are trying to tell me what I am saying, I expect them to do better.

I'll put the rest of my response behind a spoiler, as it gets quite long.

David Fryer wrote:
Disenchanter wrote:


So let me see if I can sum up:

Presenting statistics without actual data to back it up is wrong if it goes against conventional wisdom. But it is alright if it supports conventional wisdom. (I'm not even claiming your presented statistics are wrong here.)

Please show me where I sid that presenting statistics without th actual data is wrong.

You didn't.

I'm going to address this oe point and then leave, as you seem intent on arguing and nothing else. How do I know? Because, so far you have taken little nitpiky things out of my posts but have ignored the substance of them. You claim that you were making a general summery, yet the comment was made in a direct response to me. Therefore it is only fair to ask when I made the statement that was a response to mine, but you claim is a general summary. See below top see what I'm talking about.

Disenchanter wrote:
David Fryer wrote:


These numbers were not cooked, the were not twisted, and they were not manipulated in any way. How do I know? Because I was part of the team that put that report together. We looked at nothing but the raw data and presented a report based entirely on that raw data. You can distrust statistics all you want, 89% of people do statisticly, but I know what I know. And what I know is that, except in bizarrely exceptional circumstances, seat belts do save lives.

So let me see if I can sum up:

Presenting statistics without actual data to back it up is wrong if it goes against conventional wisdom. But it is alright if it supports conventional wisdom. (I'm not even claiming your presented statistics are wrong here.)

This does not appear to be a general summary, but a response to my statement.

I have read every post in this thread, but sometimes people forget things when they are read over a period of many days. It seems like you are expecting people to read every post in the thread befopre responding to anything, and that is an unfair standard. I hate to say it, particularly since you seem like a resonable person in other comments I have read of yours, but it seems like this is a hot topic issue for you and that you are not allowing yourself to be open to what others have to say. Instead you accuse us of not haveing read everything you said, of swerving away from the topic, etc.

I have discussed seat belt laws with Libritaruians before and it always tends to lead to the same place. I conceed the debate, since I understand tht in your mind safety will never trump personal freedom. Particularly when I can't explain to you why you wearing a seat belt keeps other people safe. So I will just turn around and walk out the door.

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