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Mandatory seat belts?

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On Tuesday, February 6 the House Transportation committee will host a public hearing on whether New Hampshire should require adults to wear seat belts.

Right now New Hampshire is the only state in the U.S. that does not require adults to wearing a seat belt.

Click here to learn more about the debate over a seat belt law in New Hampshire.

Time to require seat belts?

The bill up for a hearing, HB 1259, would apply to both passengers and drivers, of any age. A first offense would carry a fine of $25. Subsequent offenses would carry a fine of $50.

The bill includes exceptions for school buses, taxis, vehicles making frequent stops, antique vehicles, and any driver or passenger with a medical condition which prevents restraint.

Supporters argue that seat belts, quite simply, save lives. So far as seat belts also prevent more serious injuries, they also decrease medical expenses, which can lead to higher insurance rates for everyone.

A matter of individual liberty

Opponents of a mandatory seat belt law often argue that it is a form of “nanny state” legislation, and adults should be allowed to decide whether or not to wear a seat belt.

Other opponents argue that law enforcement may abuse seat belt laws to unjustly profile and pull over drivers.

Do you support a mandatory seat belt law in the Granite State? Let us know in the comments below.


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This legislation suggestion is not a matter of interfering with individual liberties or maintaining a nanny state. I've worked in emergency health care since 1974. I see the results several times a week of people not wearing seat belts. It is safety, pure and simple, just like driving with your headlights on at night...


The matter isn't really whether or not people should wear seatbelts when riding in a car. They should, obviously. Instead, it is whether the state government should require them to do so. Though it may be hard to believe, "requiring" seatbelts will not cause most of those who ride without seatbelts to change their ways. Instead, it will simply reinforce the mistaken belief that every societal ill has a legislative solution. The way to improve this situation is to convince your friends and family that they owe it to themselves and their loved ones to wear a seat belt. Threatening them with a $25 fine is a pretty pathetic alternative.

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