Letter: Your right to not buckle costs us money

Monday, February 12, 2018

The debate over the mandatory seat belt law simply is not based on much more than emotion as presented in the Concord Monitor on Feb 7. Either the cry of “Live Free or Die” on one side, or the humans suffering and loss on the other side.

These are valid personal beliefs, but totally devoid of objective reasoning. Here are a few facts.

Failure to wear seatbelts cost the U.S. $26 billion in 2000, according to a National Traffic Safety Administration study. A staggering 75 percent of this cost is paid by others in the form of insurance premiums, taxes, lost productivity, and yes, even travel delays. Wearing seatbelts decreases the risk of moderate to critical injury by a whopping 50 percent, according to the NTSA in 2015. The math is compelling.

A variation of the old adage on rights (your right to extend your arm ends at my nose) appears to apply here. Your right not to wear seatbelts ends at my wallet. As New Hampshire struggles with funding healthcare (a debate for another day), it would seem an obvious conclusion that enacting a seatbelt law would help. A lot.

Sometimes one should think about the civic duties he or she has to others in society, and strap them on. This is an easy one. Avoid injury and death with the attendant suffering on one hand, and put money to work where we sorely need it on the other.

Jon Pearse