Buckle Up, Even in the Back Seat

I'll admit that I don't wear a seatbelt in the back seats of cars. They're often less comfortable than the belts in the front, and I can rationalize my decision by considering how soft and cooshy the backs of the front seat look from where I sit. "If there's a wreck," I tell myself, "aim for the back of the seat; avoid the windshield."

Anyway, the NC House has passed a bill that would require all back-seaters to wear belts (kids already have to). I'm sure that's a good thing (though I'm nearly as sure that I'll be in violation should the law pass). But not everyone thinks so. Here's a quote from an opponent:

"These folks concerned with seat belt safety have an appetite you can't satisfy," said Rep. Ronnie Sutton, D-Robeson. "It has to end."


Uh, Ronnie?

I think they just want you to put on your seatbelt, buddy.

Why gamble with your life?

I've been in a car accident before, and I'm willing to bet that Ronnie Sutton hasn't. I lost control of my car on a curve and hit a dirt embankment head-on. I walked away with a busted up car and a nice bruise on my neck and collar bone, and that's it.

Had I not been wearing my seat belt, I have no doubt that at the minimum, I would have broken several ribs on the steering wheel, and fractured my skull on the windshield, and I wasn't even going that fast. There's an excellent chance I'd be dead right now.

Think about it. Do you really think the guy running into you from the side at 45mph is going to give a damn that you'd prefer he hit you from the front so you can aim for the seat?

Play it smart, play it safe. The last thing the world needs are good people like you winning Darwin awards.

Yeah, I was kidding about the "aim for the seat" thing

Well, I do actually think that, but mostly so I can laugh at myself. I will make it a point to wear my seat belt. And when I do, I'll give the finger to blank space and shout "This one's for you, Ronnie!"

Yeah ... thats the ticket.

Yes! Yes! Yes! The most realistic suggestion so far! The EVIL AUTOMOBILE!

I suggest a massive automobile catapulting/burning festival. Someone could erect a couple of large ramps on a large piece of open space in Orange County where volunteers could drop off their Volvo's, Subaru's and BMW's. Pour on some gasoline, light a match, then watch them fly into the sky as they are catapulted into a big scrap metal pile. We could offer free bicycles or horses as an incentive!

A better use for those Volvos, Subarus and Bimmers

I've always thought that we Democrats should rent the Orange County Speedway and have a contest where we Chapel Hill liberals pit our yuppiemobiles against the trucks and Camaros of the Northern Orange conservatives.

We could all drink beer and yell and wear yellow dog shiny jackets and not care who wins because the entry fees would go to us Dems!

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo

Meanwhile, a study in England

shows that using even a hands-free cellphone while driving is more hazardous than driving drunk.

Don;t hear much about that, do we?

Where is MADD on this one? Or is this a class issue?

Why in the world...

would you NOT wear a seat belt in the back seat? I grew up in the country, in an era when seat belts were a joke, kids played in the foot wells and slept in the back of the station wagon on long trips. But, those days are gone. I'd no more sit without a seatbelt than I would throw trash out the window, it's just not in my head to do those things anymore.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Back story & correction

This legislation was originally introduced as an amendment to the Defense of Marriage Act and was called the Back Seat Rider due to the proliferation of of hands-free cellphones among teenagers in cars. When that act failed to reach second base the rider was reintroduced as a bill originally called the Sexual Abstinence in Vehicles for Everyone (SAVE) Act. It finally made it onto the floor and hit a home run but not before it was renamed the less salacious Seat Belt Use Enhancements Act.

Actually, in all seriousness, this bill contains an error. It changes the existing law which exempts, among other situations:

"Any vehicle registered and licensed as a property carrying vehicle in accordance with G.S. 20‑88 while being used for agricultural or commercial purposes"

to read:

"Any vehicle registered and licensed as a property carrying vehicle in accordance with G.S. 20‑88 while being used for agricultural purposes in intrastate commerce"

In other words, while clarifying "commercial purpose" to exempt "intrastate commerce" (not "interstate commerce") it leaves out "or" so that the law will now apply to all commercial property carrying vehicles other than those engaged in agricultural intrastate commerce.

Sexually Abstinence in Vehicles for Everyone Act? Really?

That's bizarre. And what's this about handsfree devices? Is the idea that kids jump around more when they're texting, or that people in the front will use their cell phones less if the backseat people are buckled? I don't get it.

Base jumping

- without a parachute. Sorry, kidding about "back seat acts" - just some bad TGIF sophomoric humor.

I wasn't kidding about the bill text which is actually the sixth edition and noted "Corrected Copy 7/7/06"

You should have been around on Thursday

if you were interested in sophomoric humor. It was ugly.

Good to see you on Tuesday! Thanks for coming by to help celebrate our independence!


The enforcement of this provision would be difficult. Even more than the front seatbelts since the back seatbelts are more hidden. But I still think it is good to be on the books to let a policeman pull over a car with little rugrats jumping all around the back.

The enforcement question reminded of my morning commute: I saw a car today belch out a large black cloud of smoot in front of me and a cop, and I wish that he had been able to pull the car over and give it an emissions test right there. Since it would have failed, they could have kept the car off the road until the problem was fixed.

It would be a secondary offense

so you coudn't get pulled for it, even if it was apparent to the police that your passengers weren't wearing their belts.

Air fare

You can actually report smoking vehicles online to DENR with the Smoking Vehicle Complaint Form

It shall be a violation of this Article:

For any gasoline-powered motor vehicle registered and operated in this State to emit visible air contaminants under any mode of operation for longer than five consecutive seconds.

For any diesel-powered motor vehicle registered and operated in this State to emit for longer than five consecutive seconds under any mode of operation visible air contaminants which are equal to or darker than the shade or density designated as No. 1 on the Ringelmann Chart or equal to or dark than a shade or density of twenty percent (20%) opacity.

Good to know.

Good to know. I will take down the license number next time.

Yes, I'm a NARC.

Ever since I had kids I write down the license of aggressive and/or dangerous drivers and call the police when I get to my destination. I guess I can add smoke billowers to the crowd.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Asheville's "progressive" city council

seems to want to enforce the seat belt laws with off-duty officers, in uniform, paid by a grant from some think tank.

Odd, I think.

Just read about it today, full blog post later on.