An excellent letter was featured in Maine’s newspapers yesterday. It appears to be written by one newspaper editor, complaing of the actions of another paper. Its always hard to tell, since many online newspapers do not clearly say what area they cover and make it awfully hard for one to find out. It seems that unless you live there or know the media outlets, you’ll be left guessing.

Anyhow, here is the piece in its entirety:

Passage of seat-belt law tyrannical, at best
Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinal, 04/11/2008

I don’t know who censors opinion at the Morning Sentinel, but it’s clear that someone does; John Christie, no doubt.

This letter is addressed to him. The seat-belt law was passed in robotic-like unison by 49 of the 50 states. Democracy in action? They acted under threat and for pay, as you well know. A functionary at the U.S. Department of Transportation informed the states: “Do this or else.”

“If you do what I, as an unelected hireling, tell you to do, you will receive millions.”

Tell me, why is that not as tyrannical, as unconstitutional, as un-American as it gets? Given that, why do you not print letters that point that out? Think that kind of censorship of legitimate opinion has anything to do with the turn away from the media?

Now you may argue that fascist or not, the law is needed and saves lives. That last would not stand up in a 101 class in statistics. The validation of even one small statistic is a tedious, painstaking task. Ask the people who put together the SATs how much goes into the least of the questions. Each finding must be validated by closely monitored control groups.

Control groups must replicate every aspect of a crash before they can conclude that the failure to wear seatbelts can be blamed. Such control situations are obviously impossible to establish; therefore, conclusions worth their salt are not available, all shouts of anguish to the contrary.

Victor Lister
Athens

In Iraq, people don’t wear a seatbelts for the same reason most people in America wear them: they don’t want to be different, according to an LA Times report. If you wear a seatbelt in Iraq, everyone will notice (much like everyone seems to notice if you don’t strap one on here) and it will make you very unpopular (also similar to the US situation). Looks like maybe some of the Iraqis are smarter than us. Thats probably why we are flying bombing runs over there.

Politicians in the Channel Island of Jersey have agreed to a law mandating the use of rear seat belts. BBC News story.

Maryland’s Senator Roy Dyson (D) who serves district 29, had a rather succinct piece of commentary in his newsletter on the use of speed cameras masquerading as safety devices when the primary intent is produce revenue for the government. Below, we provide you with some of the highlights from the piece, you can click the link above for the full commentary.

The speed camera bill does not require the use of cameras for any county that does not want them. I don’t consider myself a cynical person, but the odds are that after a few years, legislation to require all counties use speed cameras will be before the General Assembly. To me, that is a troubling aspect of the bill. Certainly, we have seen similar legislative encroachment before. Remember the law to require that seat belts be worn. When the law was first enacted, failure to wear a seat belt was a secondary offense. Violators could be cited for failure to wear a seat belt, only if they were stopped for another moving violation. Today, failure to wear a seat belt is a primary offense. The law has been changed. Yes indeed, drivers can be stopped and cited for failure to wear a seat belt.

Speed cameras are popular because they are revenue producers…and the hunger for more revenue is a governmental addiction. In some form or another, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Utah, Washington and the District of Columbia use speed cameras. On the other hand, New Jersey, West Virginia and Wisconsin prohibit any type of photo-radar enforcement of traffic laws. Currently, Montgomery County, the only Maryland county that uses speed cameras, raked in $2.8 million in the first 6 months of their use. And that’s only one county in less than a year of camera use. It should be noted that Montgomery County law allows cameras only where the speed limit is 35 mph. Violators are fined $40, considerably less than the $75 fine under the proposed state legislation.

A United Kingdom Department of Transportation study showed that when conventional speed cameras were used in construction zones, there was a 55% increase in accidents. Then they were used in non-construction zones, there was a 31% accident increase. When speed-averaging cameras were used in construction zones, there was a 4.5% increase in accidents. When speed-averaging cameras were used in non-construction zones, there was a 6.7% in accidents. However, when police patrols were increased in construction zones, there was a 27% decrease in accidents. Increased police patrols in non-construction zones produced a 10% decrease in accidents. It should be noted that UK’s Transportation Department tried to suppress this information. It had to be obtained with a freedom of information request.

Fox News in Tulsa, OK is reporting that cops successfully issued 48 tickets and declared it a “victory”. The officers say they setup a checkpoint to catch seatbelt violators on South Lewis Street due to the occurrence of many wrecks. We’re not sure the police department has any reason to celebrate, because increased seatbelt use has been proven to NOT reduce the number of crashes. Unless they are celebrating the financial windfall - at $20 per ticket - $960 is not bad for an hours work.

A new Australian seatbelt law will make it mandatory for parents to restrain all children under the age of six months in a rear-facing infant capsule. Children up to four will need to be restrained in an approved forward-facing child seat. And children aged between four and seven must be restrained in an approved booster seat. Interesting how seatbelt laws cover so many other things, like child seats.

Apparently, governments know no bounds when forcing people to wear a seatbelt. The latest one is seatbelt non-wearers could be terrorists. Air travelers bound for Israel are now being required by Israeli aviation security officials to fasten their seatbelts at least 30 minutes prior to landing. Of course, this rule would suggest that those who fail to do so are terrorists.

Apparently, the word terrorism has lost its punch, if that’s all it takes to be a terrorist, then there is a good chance that we are all terrorists in our own little ways. We here at SITCIOT never thought we’d see a day when not wearing a seatbelt would constitute terrorism.

North Yorkshire Police have issued 349 seat belt tickets in the first two weeks of February, as part of the department’s road safety campaign, and warn that more is to come.

The current belt enforcement campaign is being run in conjunction with TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network.

The press report highlights the fact that yet again Britain is suffering from further European integration under the auspices of a fledgling pan-European police force.

Nottinghamshire County Council is running a “Do It Up” campaign, with an accompanying short film, which can be viewed at the council’s website here.

After U.S. Consumer Reports complained that Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter were depicted in the hit Disney series “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” in the back seat of a car without wearing seat belts, the star apologized, saying seatbelt safety was “very important”.

From Reuters:

Consumer Reports said Cyrus and his 15-year-old daughter were filmed riding in a Range Rover on the way to rehearsal for the concert tour and neither was wearing a seat belt. The magazine said in a blog posting that movie and TV shows did influence how children and adults acted in daily life. “Simply put, not wearing seat belts while riding in the rear seat of a vehicle is dangerous,” said the blog posting.

Apparently, Consumer Reports is getting desperate for things to write about but they don’t seem to have any trouble coping with all of the violence on television. Nor did they address the impact of how having more shopping channels than educational channels can turn children into mindless brain dead consumers who can only say “Buy, Buy, Buy!”.

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