You turn on the car, press on the gas pedal to leave, then suddenly a beeping sound starts going off. It happens to me all the time.

First thing I do when I get in the car with my children is, immediately demand they buckle up. I have to remind them about three times before they are both nicely snug, safely secured and ready to go. I step on the gas and off we go on our merry way. Before I get can get in the groove of whatever song we picked for our voyage,  a little vibrant yet very concerned voice yells at me from the back, “mommy put your seatbelt on”, “mommy put your seatbelt on”.

“Oh, ok. Thank you, Maia.” I always reply.

I have conditioned my children on the significance of wearing a seatbelt. I have also explained to them that although seatbelts are for our own safety, they are also mandated by law (in the state of California). Thus, unless we want to get a traffic violation ticket, from our lovely law enforcement officers patrolling the streets (most often not wearing their own seatbelts), we ought to wear them regardless of how unnecessary they may seem at times.

As I do believe that some laws are there to protect us and are well-intentioned, I personally find this one, in particular, to be a bit off that mark.

I appreciate that vehicles now all come equipped with all types of gadgets, some for safety while others for pure entertainment and flashiness. I appreciate it, I am grateful for it, I admire the creativity and ingenuity, but this does not mean that I need someone making laws and regulations to enforce I use these gadgets…for my own safety. I want to keep my children as safe as possible, as much of the time as it is possible. As a result, I make my children wear their seatbelt, eat their vegetables, keep them clean (most times), provide them with an education, keep them healthy, watch over them in crowded place so they don’t get snatched by a mysterious hooded person,  I hold their hands while crossing the street and so on.

I am even ok with laws enforcing us to keep our children safe, such as the seatbelt and car seat laws…to some extent. What I am NOT ok with, however, is someone (the government), demanding a grown up to put on a seatbelt or else. Because a seatbelt may or may not save my life. I, according to the authorities, am not responsible or sound minded enough to make this decision for myself. I need another, more capable adult, telling me what I should do with my own self in regards to my own safety. Really?

According to some statistics from the CDC website, an estimated 4,000 people’s lives could have been saved in 2009 if all vehicles occupants wear their seatbelts at the time of the accident. Being able to hypothetically save those 4,000 people would have been an amazing achievement. Hypothetically.

Be that as it may, the same CDC website (center for disease control and prevention), reports more deaths every year from tobacco or alcohol consumption (single-handedly). Roughly 480,000 people die due to tobacco-related illnesses, and about 88,000 from alcohol-related illnesses. Furthermore, circa 76,000 people die of diabetes.

All of these numbers are drastically higher than the deaths that “could have” (maybe) been prevented by wearing a seatbelt while driving. Yet there are no laws forbidding drinking too much, or smoking/chewing too much tobacco, or eating those sodium and fat-saturated rich foods as well as gulping down all those gallons of sodas and juices. As well, there shouldn’t be! I don’t want anyone telling me what I can and cannot eat or drink, and how much of it. It really comes down to personal responsibility and accountability…and priorities.

I don’t believe these seatbelt laws are there to protect me. Some people in the law enforcement care so greatly about my safety that they have to force me to wear a seatbelt…for my own good! I am just a bit skeptical. I see these laws as a channel to tax us on things that should be within our control and authority. Seriously, I am “allowed” to give myself a heart attack (with the help of the government approved garbage), but wearing a seatbelt -or not- is not a responsibility I can be left with on my own. I wear a seatbelt, or I get a fine of at least $162.00 (in California).

I will repeat. I am not asking for more laws to keep me in check and forbidding me from eating and drinking or consuming anything that I damn please…NO…Please! For Goodness sake, NO!

What I would like is the liberty to chose if and when I should (if at all) wear my seatbelt that so thoughtfully and graciously Nills Bohlin invented and encouraged all automobile manufacturers to implement and add to their vehicles. I would like to be able to jump in the car and drive to 711 on the corner street to get my KitKat bar (because I love me some KitKat) and not worry about Mr. Officer turning my $2.00 drive into a $164.00 or more dollars drive.

What is your thought on this matter? Do you wear your seatbelt? Leave us a comment below.








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