The Instigator
heart_of_the_matter
Pro (for)
Losing
35 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Con (against)
Winning
44 Points

There should not be a mandatory seatbelt law

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 13 votes the winner is...
beem0r
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/18/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 31,228 times Debate No: 6995
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (13)

 

heart_of_the_matter

Pro

Hello, this is my first debate, online or in real life, so please forgive me if I don't follow proper protocol. Please inform me if I am messing something up, if you would be so kind, thank you.

I am for the position that there should not be a mandatory seatbelt law.

My reasons are:
1. It is a violation of a person's freedom. Seatbelts are there if a person chooses to wear one, and those who want to can wear their seatbelt, but those who don't want to shouldn't be forced to wear one.
2. It is an oppressive money generator, not for the purpose of keeping the people safe but rather for the purpose of supplementing revenues.
3. It is not reasonable, because there are some states that don't even require helmets to be worn when riding motorcycles.
4. In many accidents it is safer to not be wearing a seatbelt and so it should be left up to the individual to decide when and if to wear a seatbelt.

I look forward to an interesting debate thank you!
beem0r

Con

As he is a newcomer, I would first like to welcome my opponent to this site, and I wish him good luck in this and any future debates.

My opponent has kindly given me numbered points - a list of contentions by which he supports the resolution. I'll return the favor, and keep things rather organized - I'll mark my opponent's points with an "P" [for Pro] and my own points with a "C" [for Con], including the same numbers my opponent used in his first round.

===
P1: It is a violation of personal freedom... those who don't want to shouldn't be forced to wear one.
C1: I will plainly state a fact that should soon become obvious to all present: freedom only exists as far as other people are willing to let you do whatever you want. For example, in America, we usually have the freedom of speech - we're generally allowed to say whatever we want. When does this 'right' disappear? As soon as an influential enough force determines that we no longer have that right. For instance, at a public school, there are a multitude of forms of speech which are considered taboo and for which there are strict punishments - for instance, "wising off" to a teacher is often punished in one way or another.
From one point of view, these students do still have the right to wise off to their teacher. But that is not what we usually mean when we talk about freedoms and rights - we mean that an action will not have consequences, or at least not consequences imposed by public entities. Just as public entities at a school will punish you for speech they deem inappropriate, so too do law enforcement agencies attempt to punish you for driving without a seatbelt on.

Let me put it another way for you. My opponent's stance here is that we should be able to do whatever we want, we should have personal freedom. Unfortunately, this is not true. Government limits your ability to do many things - run for office before a certain age, use certain dangerous substances, or fail to use certain safety devices. We do not have this mythical freedom my opponent speaks of - we are at the mercy of the powers that be - and the powers that be have decided that it is better for us to be forced to wear seatbelts than to not. This is not a violation of personal freedom, since we do not have personal freedom.

Now certainly, my opponent can bring up the fact that we want personal freedom, even if we don't have it - but we're not the ones who decide the laws. Whether or not a law should or will exist depends not on how the average citizen feels about that law, but rather on how those in power like that law. The only way we, the common people, 'should' be determining the law is if we overthrow or severely reform the government - a case my opponent will have to prove if he wants to hold onto that notion.

===
P2: It is an oppressive money generator, not for the purpose of keeping people safe.
C2: That's an interesting theory, except for one fact - it doesn't make any sense! If the government simply wanted to deprive us of some money and gain some money themselves, they would just raise taxes rather than doing actual work for it with courts and policemen. Nay, the purpose of seatbelt laws is thus: to create a negative incentive for not wearing seatbelts, so that more people will wear seatbelts, less people will die in crashes, and our country will be slightly more prosperous, happy, and populated. It is what psychologists would call "positive punishment," a form of operant conditioning, which is a priceless tool for controlling people's behavior.

===
P3: It is not reasonable, because there are some states that don't even require helmets to be worn when riding motorcycles.
C3: This is immaterial to the resolution, because my opponent has failed to show that these states shouldn't have helmet laws. It's true that no helmet laws but a seatbelt law would be a bit inconsistent, but it could very well be that the best course of action for these states is to simply make helmet laws and keep the seatbelt laws.
In fact, let's take a look at the language my opponent uses: "They don't even require helmets to be worn when riding motorcycles." This phrase brings with it the implication they should _at least_ require helmets to be worn, just as "they don't even provide ketchup to go with their mustard" implies that they should provide said ketchup. And of course, helmet laws and seatbelt laws are nearly identical in purpose and implications - implying that one is justified necessarily implies that the other, too, is justified.

===
P4: In many accidents it is safer to not be wearing a seatbelt and so it should be left up to the individual to decide when and if to wear a seatbelt.
C4: Laws are not made because they always are for the better - they apply because following the law will be better for society overall. Indeed, how is a person to know which type of accident they will be in - one where a seatbelt might harm them vs. one where it might save their lives? They cannot know this beforehand. However, overall, it is much safer to wear a seatbelt than to not. Seatbelted vehicle occupants have about HALF the chance of dying in a car crash as non-belted vehicle occupants [1]. This means that overall, legislative forces of this nation should attempt to encourage people to wear seatbelts rather than not - and of course, one way they do this is by making seatbelt use a legal requirement. And as my opponent has already kindly pointed out for me, this holds the additional benefit of giving the government extra much-needed revenue.

[1]http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov...
Keep in mind that this study is actually _critical_ of some of the claims of seatbelts' purported usefulness, yet even it acknowledges that belted folks are killed 50% less than unbelted folks [verses other sources which were claiming a 70-80% reduction in deaths]. This information is in the abstract.

Thank you for reading, and good luck to my opponent once again.
Debate Round No. 1
heart_of_the_matter

Pro

I want to acknowledge my worthy opponent. I admire his formal debating skills and I thank him for his politeness.

P1: A person is free to do what they wish so long as they don't infringe upon another is how I am understanding my opponent's rebuttal, and I do agree with this concept. However, my opponent has not proven or shown that anyone is being infringed upon. In his example of a student 'wising off' to his teacher there was a victim, someone was wronged, someone had their rights infringed upon. In the case of not wearing a seat belt no one else is harmed or infringed upon. I do agree for instance that the government should have a role in ensuring that a vehicle has working brakes, to protect the safety of others, but where there is no victim to protect, such as in the case of mandatory seat belt laws, I believe the role of the government to be to preserve rights and liberties, and to stand up to it's ideal of protecting life, liberty (emphasis added), and the pursuit of happiness. As a final example: There are no laws against overeating,
which significantly contributes to a large number of health related preventable deaths, but rather, it is given to the individuals to decide what they will or won't do. I will close on this point by reiterating the fact also that anyone who desires to wear a seat belt is free to do so and would not be affected at all by allowing other people the right to exercise their freedoms as well, as the saying goes, live and let live.

P2: My opponent claims that it doesn't make sense that the government would need to resort to this tactic to raise revenues, but rather could simply raise taxes. While I agree that on the surface it may actually appear that way, that a government can simply levy taxes upon a population and there is nothing that the said population can or will do about it. That is nice to think in an ideal sense, but in reality it is not so easy for a government to raise taxes. Politicians and leaders who attempt to raise taxes sometimes find out the hard way that the people do not like being excessively taxed, and they actively resist efforts of the government to do so. As an example of this I will use Gray Davis, former Governor of California, who attempted to raise taxes on car registration and was subsequently removed from office by a recall election, in the which the current Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, came to power[1].

Greed does make sense to a lot of people unfortunately. One example I will use is the state of Maryland: "Some states, such as Maryland, are so eager that they've equipped their officers with night vision goggles, similar to those used by our servicemen in Iraq. Maryland state troopers bagged 44 drivers traveling unbuckled under the cover of darkness."[2]. Another example, which is common knowledge to most people, would be the police 'quotas'. By having
police 'quotas' the police are using their powers not to protect the people, but to extract revenue. A problem occurs however when the people start seeing the police not as protectors, but as oppressors, if this happens then serious consequences can result. According to the social contract by John Locke the government can only maintain power by having the consent of the governed.[3]

I have saved the most insidious example for last. My final example of the seat belt law being a revenue generator is the issue of federal highway funding. In order to qualify for federal highway funds the states are effectively blackmailed into compliance. To put it in simple terms, if a state refuses to have a mandatory seat belt law then they will lose their highway funding. This topic segues well into my next point so I will elaborate further there.

P3: My opponent seems to imply that the mandatory helmet laws are good, and that mandatory helmet laws should simply be added on to mandatory seat belt laws.

I would like to illustrate what really is going on, and as I stated above it is directly linked with the federal funding issue. I will start by stating the fact that some states have a mandatory seat belt law, but not a mandatory helmet law. Two states are Arizona and Idaho. I would like to examine the logic and thought process that those states have adopted. Why do those states not have a mandatory helmet law? I would say the logical answer is that they do not desire to have either law, but they have been coerced into adopting the mandatory seat belt law in order to secure their funding. The mandatory helmet law was not required and so they didn't impose that. To me, and hopefully all who will read this, that is a clear signal that they know they do not have the cause of righteousness on their side. They are willing to take away liberties and individual freedoms only when they are forced into doing so by economic blackmail, and given the choice they would rather not have that law. As a further proof, a paltry fine for breaking that law was instituted at first, somewhere around a five dollar fine was all that was assessed, I will concede that now however, as the state realizes they can get more money from it, it is being exploited and the amounts of the fines have increased. In summary the state decided to preserve the freedoms of the motorcyclists, as long as their funding (and jobs) were
not at risk, so I am implying what you stated, but in reverse. Since they find freedom to be right, in the case of not requiring helmets, they also should find the same with regards to seat belts, and they would, if it wasn't for the blackmail pertaining to the federal highway funds.

P4: My opponent's main point appears to be that Seat belted vehicle occupants have about HALF the chance of dying in a car crash as non-belted vehicle occupants.

It is simply a fact that many accidents a person could be involved in would be safer for them if they were not wearing a seat belt. The most common accident site is at intersections. The type of accident most common at intersections is a "T-bone".

Side Impacts: In the 11-17-90 Status Report, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is quoted as saying:

Even in low-severity side impacts, serious occupant injuries may occur, especially to drivers on the struck side of the vehicle. The Plymouth (shown above) was struck on the side at a relatively low speed but the driver, who was using a lap-shoulder belt, suffered multiple rib fractures and other injuries. In severe side impacts, even worse injuries often occur. The passenger in the Chevrolet (shown above) was trapped in the car after this crash and subsequently was hospitalized for seven days with injuries. It's because of the seriousness of injuries that occur in such crashes that NHTSA plans to add side impact tests to NCAP[4].

Two professors at the University of Winnipeg, Canada, completed a three year study based on 2,715 drivers from 1982-88 who were injured and matched up with hospital records. According to the study, seat belt use result in more injuries to specific parts of the body, namely: 2.9% more to spine; 2.8% more to chest and pelvis; and 2.3% more to the head[4].

This brings me to a ludicris example, but one that is obvious and needs to be stated. If a person is involved in an accident and they survive the crash. But they only survived the crash because they were not wearing a seatbelt, then they must, by law, be cited for not wearing the safety device, or rather it should be said "so called safety device". This is not logical, I don't know what more that I can say than that.

My contention is that laws should always be made for the better. Which brings me back to my original idea, that there should not be a mandatory seat belt law.

1.http://en.wikipedia.org...
2.Click it or ticket to socialism, Walter E. Williams
3.John Locke, The Social Contral Contract, ch.ch. XI
4.http://www.atch.com...
beem0r

Con

====
1 - My opponent has misunderstood my point here. I am not saying that we should all be able to do whatever we want, unless it infringes on someone else's freedom. We should be, and are, however, able to do whatever we want that people with power do not want to stop us from doing. If those we have put into power decide that certain drugs, for instance, are harmful to society if people take them, then those in power - who are charged with protecting society at large - are justified in doing what they can to stop people from doing these drugs.

This situation is the same for seatbelts: people not wearing seatbelts harms society at large, by causing, on average, twice as many deaths as wearing seatbelts (See point 4). Since legislative bodies are charged with making laws to ensure the prosperity and welfare of our society, they are quite justified in supporting mandatory seatbelt laws, since these laws increase the number of seatbelt-wearers and therefore reduce the number of unnecessary deaths.

My opponent says that he is in favor of mandatory car inspections, [requiring that the brakes are in good working condition, etc], since these laws protect the safety of others. First, note that lawmakers are supposed to protect all citizens, not just 'others.' Second, note that there are always 'victims' when someone dies. If I die in a car crash because I wasn't wearing a seatbelt, I'm not the only person affected by that. It sends a ripple throughtout the chunk of society I inhabit - my friends and family are left mourning, my employer is shorthanded, etc. If my opponent needs for there to be a 'victim' other than oneself to accept seatbelt laws, he can simply consider the multitude of people besides himself who would be negatively affected by his needless death.

===
2 - My opponent continues to argue that seatbelt laws are simply in place as an additional source of revenue. This is nonsense - I have and will continue to show in other points that there are other reasons. Additional revenue is but one of the many reasons the government has for supporting such laws. Perhaps I was mistaken in saying that raising taxes would be so easy, and I'm fine with accepting error on that point.

Next, my opponent brings up that some places like Maryland overdo it - wasting their money on night vision goggles and their time on ticketing '44 drivers' for driving unbuckled at night. First, the waste of money seems to go against my opponent's point here, that the government is simply using this as a way to get more money. Second, enforcing a law that is beneficial to society is not something that should only be done during the day. And lastly, my opponent fails to mention the timeframe during which 44 drivers were given tickets for driving with no seatbelt. But it doesn't matter; if Maryland was overzealous, that is a problem with Maryland's zealotry, NOT a problem with mandatory seat belt laws. Mandatory seat belt laws can be enforced too little or too often, as it is with every crime. Mandatory seatbelt laws should continue to exist, and if they are enforced in certain places too often or too little, then the level of enforcement should be raised or lowered accordingly.

My opponent also brings up police quotas. These sometimes may cause tickets that really weren't worth given out, no matter what the laws are in question. Seat belt laws don't cause police quotas - police uotas are a problem that exists separately from seatbelt laws. If police quotas really are bad, as my opponent suggests, then they should be abandoned.

My opponent quotes John Locke as saying that a government cannot be successful without the consent of the people. It has just that - and in cases where it doesn't seat belt laws are not the issue. The overwhelming majority of people are fine with seatbelt laws - this is why you've probably never seen a protest against them.

My opponent also brings up the 'insidious' example of highway funding. The federal government, in wanting to protect its citizens, decides that states will only get federal highway funding if certain safety regulations are followed - one of these regulations is the mandatory seat belt law. The fact that such seatbelt laws are necessary for our states to get highway funding stands out as yet another reason why each state SHOULD have mandatory seatbelt laws.

===
3. My opponent suggests that the states that have seatbelt laws but no helmet laws do not really want either law, they have simply been coerced into the seatbelt law by federal funding. This is simply not true - motorcycle helmet laws are one of many safety regulations that must be followed to obtain federal funding. "In 1967, the federal government began requiring states to enact motorcycle helmet laws in order to be eligible for certain federal safety programs and highway construction funds."
Among these states are Idaho and Arizona, according to my opponent.
http://itd.idaho.gov...
That is an Idaho government page, the authority on Idaho's position about these laws.
There are some interesting facts there - here is one of them: "In 2007, the 22% of Idahoans that did not buckle up accounted for 65% of the people killed in traffic crashes. (ITD 2007 Crash Report and 2007 Observational Seat Belt Survey)"
Further, let's look a little further down the page: "Idaho is ineligible for federal seat belt grant funds..."
Looks like funding ISN'T their reason for seat belt laws after all!
And here's some more interesting information on the page: In 2007, the economic impact to Idahoans for motorists killed or injured due to lack of seat belt use was $861 million. (ITD 2007 Crash Report)
I can assure you, the ones who paid that $861 million were not the victims of the accidents - they were those left behind - those affected by the recklessness of these drivers.

And from Arizona's government website http://www.azdps.gov...:
"Every hour someone dies in America simply because they didn't buckle up.
Failure to buckle up contributes to more fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior.

Despite terrible traffic problems such as aggressive driving, increasing seat belt use is still the single most effective thing we can do to save lives and reduce injuries on America's roadways."

Note, too, that this might be why seat belt laws exist there but helmet laws do not. Relatively few people ride motorcycles, and helmets don't save lives as effectively as seatbelts. In fact, according to some studies they don't have a statistically significant effect at all [1]. By this logic, it is obvious why seat belt laws would exist in all states, where motorcycle helmet laws do not exist everywhere.

===
4 - My opponent once again states that sometimes, seatbelts can actually be harmful. This is true, but much more often, seatbelts are good. It is impossible to know whether you will get in an accident where a seatbelt will help you, do nothing, or harm you. People do not 'plan' on getting in certain types of accidents. To be better prepared for the majority of accidents, people should wear seatblets. The proof is in the pudding - seatbelt-wearers are, on average, half as likely to die in an accident. Getting more people to wear seatbelts therefore saves lives, and reduces the negative economic and social impact of car crashes.

My opponent points out a study where seatbelts were found to lead to slightly (2-3%) higher likelihood of certain types of injury. When we compare the measly 3% increase in likelihood of certain types of injury with the 50% reduction in likelihood of death, we find that seatbelts are still worth it overall.

And now, to the much anticipated final round.

[1]http://www.bikersrights.com...
Debate Round No. 2
heart_of_the_matter

Pro

I thank my opponent for his well thought out rebuttal.

P1. Whichever way the issue of freedom is interpreted whether the way I first debated against, or this way which you have brought up (that I will now address), the result will remain the same. The result is that there should not be a mandatory seat belt law.

The way I am now interpreting your point can basically be summarized as "Might makes right".

You said "We should be, and are, however, able to do whatever we want that people with power do not want to stop us from doing"

So whatever the people with power want us to not be doing is always right? I am sure you do not think that is correct. Simply appealing to the law that already exists or to the powers that be is not going to work, because that is exactly why I made my main point to begin with, that there should not be a seat belt law. Just because our leaders say that that is the way it is, is just not good enough. An easy example to illustrate this would be that the US Government once allowed slavery. My point is that some laws are not just and need to be changed or taken off the books entirely, and this is one of those laws.

Your point about seat belt laws actually reducing the number of deaths is also debatable. I will discuss that more in point 4. if I have enough words left. But suffice it to say that there is evidence to the contrary. Your final point about the effect on others is meaningless because any choice a person makes could lead to their death.

Any person's death will certainly have an effect on others. What it comes down to is if the person stood up for what was right and died, or did the person die because they submitted to an unjust law? You didn't comment on one of my sayings that seems relevant here so I will repeat it here at this point. Quoting myself:

"If a person is involved in an accident and they survive the crash. But they only survived the crash because they were not wearing a seat belt, then they must, by law, be cited for not wearing the safety device..."

It reminds me of the saying of "You can live on your knees, or die on your feet." Some things are worth dying for, freedom is one of those things. This is not supposed to be a socialist country, but rather a constitutional republic which protects individual's (emphasis added) rights and freedoms.

P2. I would like to make the contention that it is hardly nonsense to think that our state governments would consider using the mandatory seat belt law as a revenue generator. With the condition of our economy and considering that 48 of 50 states are nearly bankrupt, I think that the state leaders would look to any source of revenue as welcome. Raising revenues is not easy, you yourself agreed that raising taxes is not easy. I would simply say that it makes sense to look at and consider.

The fact that my opponent seems familiar with the concept of 'police quotas' doesn't surprise me. I think almost everyone knows about them. I wonder how it is though that our official law enforcement agency is being used to generate revenues by police quotas, but that it is hard for my opponent to believe that the same law enforcement would not use mandatory seat belt laws to make money. I also agree that quotas are not right and I would like it if they didn't exist. But I also think that adding in an addition method to be used against the people is not a good idea either.

I simply brought up the example of what happened in Maryland to reinforce those points. I used that example to show how zealously a law like this can be exploited if the powers that be decide to do so. The fact that they did this doesn't make it right though. I would like to see it completely out of their power to do this, and it will be when there is no mandatory seat belt law.

You claim that the majority of people are fine with seat belt laws. I will say that at one time the majority of people were also fine with slavery. It still doesn't make it right by just appealing to the majority, if in fact the majority is for them. I am not even sure if the majority is for them. I certainly was never included in any surveys.

I will address the federal funding issue in another section.

P3. I would like to make a comment on your first source (ID.). I want to point out something that is very peculiar. There is a difference in the amounts of the fine for an adult versus a fine for a person under 18 years old. For the adult the fine is $10. For the under 18 the fine is $51.50. I would like to explore why that is like that.

The state recognizes the fact that the adult is able to understand the issue and make an informed decision better than the younger person (I will admit that I don't think that is the actual case in many instances). But nevertheless, there is a difference that the state recognizes and doesn't penalize adults as much. I would say that it isn't a stretch to say they probably wouldn't have any penalty, but you can't have a law without a penalty. The low fine of $10 suggests that it does not tend much to criminality, I would even say that they feel guilty enforcing it. I personally have had an Idaho State Police officer tell me that he refuses to enforce that law. I used to work at Pocatello Regional Transit (in ID.) and we had safety briefings from them on a regular basis.

In appealing to other actual authority figures there, I also had an experience with a rescue worker (S&R) who drove up in his tow truck to where my friend had just rolled my car when he fell asleep while driving on the freeway. The man told me that from what he has seen from other crashes he will not wear a seat belt. I didn't have my seat belt on and I walked away from the crash without any injuries (I give thanks to God for protection).

P4. My opponent acknowledges that sometimes seat belts can actually be harmful. And since it is impossible to know which type of accident you will be involved in if you have one, it makes sense that the individual should be the one who chooses and not the government. If it was cut and dried a government formula might work, but my opponent himself admits that this is not the case.

Here is an example to consider: Say a person is offered a vaccine, but there is a 25% risk of death associated with taking the vaccine. I would argue that it should be up to the individual if they want to take the vaccine or not. They may or may not ever come in contact with the disease after all. This is analogous to a person who may not ever be in an accident at all, but if they are, they should be free to choose what they think is more safe for them.

Here is another ex: What if a person lives in an area surrounded by water? In case of an accident the percentages could be much higher of being submerged in the water if they have an accident. If they had a seat belt on this would make the chances of survival lower. I think that person should have the right to wear a seat belt if they want, but also the right to not wear a seat belt if they so chose. Mandatory seat belt laws don't allow that, that is yet another reason why we should not have mandatory seat belt laws.

Or maybe a person has more of an aversion to being decapacitated (head cut off from the seat belt, which is common but not widely known) than they do for being thrown clear of the vehicle and taking their chances. The choice should be left in the hands of the individual.

Do you want a paternalistic government or a government that protects your freedom? Keep in mind again that an individual always has the freedom to wear a seat belt as much as they want to. I am simply suggesting to remove the oppressing force of government from the equation and let both options be legal.

I have run out of space to post statistics of my own. However, this link has the relevant statistics I was referring to [1]

I now conclude and wish good luck to my opponent.

1. http://www.atch.com...
beem0r

Con

Alright, time to finish this.
===
1. My opponent has interpreted my definition of freedom as 'Might makes right.' This is a little bit inaccurate - I am simply stating that the freedoms a person has are related to their ability to do things. It doesn't necessarily make right.

What I mean by this is that freedom is not inherently good or bad. My opponent's first point was that these laws take away freedom - I am simply saying "So what? That does not have any implications on its own." Let me give an example that might be more easy to see with.
Bob is a would-be murderer. He approaches a friend of his, venting his frustration:
Bob: Bah! Anti-murder laws should not exist.
Friend: Why's that?
Bob: Because they take away my freedom to kill people.

Do you see what Bob has just done? He is begging the question. These laws are supposed to take away freedom. For Bob's argument to be valid, he would first have to independently show that people should actually have the freedom to murder one another. You see, it is the same with this debate we are having now. With the other three points, we will find that either people should have the right to not wear a seatbelt without violating the law, or we will find that people should not have the freedom to not wear a seatbelt without violating the law. I believe I have sufficiently shown that this point has no significance of its own - whoever wins the rest of the debate wins this point.

We can see another example of this begging the question in my opponent's third round: "What it comes down to is if the person stood up for what was right and died, or did the person die because they submitted to an unjust law?" This is assuming right away that the law is unjust, but that is pretty much exactly what we are debating.

My opponent also brings up a quote I failed to address in a previous round: "A person is involved in an accident and they survive the crash ... because they were not wearing a seat belt, then they must ... be cited" This is technically true, but it doesn't mean anything in practice. While seatbelts are mandatory by law, police officers have the ability to enforce or not to enforce the law, depending on the circumstances. Further, the cop will not be able to know whether or not a person was wearing a seatbelt while actually driving.

And further, I did address my opponent's above statement - it just wasn't as direct as he must have wanted. I stated that laws are NOT made so that every single thing will always be perfect, they are made so that OVERALL, society will benefit. Sure, there will be times when laws do not make sense, exceptions if you will. However, we keep these laws around because despite their flaws, they serve a useful purpose. In the case of seatbelt laws, they save lives.

And lastly on this point, we have one more fallacious statement: "This is not supposed to be a socialist country, but rather a constitutional republic which protects individual's (emphasis added) rights and freedoms." Is it? My opponent certainly hasn't shown that it is, he's just assuming it is, because that lets him jump to his desired conclusion.

===
2.
I never said that revenue generation is not a consideration at all for seat belt laws. In fact, it is one of the reasons why seat belt laws should remain. To say that these laws should not exist requires an advocacy - it requires that someone change things - those someones would be state lawmakers in this case. These lawmakers not only want to protect their constituents, but they also want to ensure the strength of their government. Seat belt laws actually fulfill BOTH of these wants! Legislators have no substantial legitimate reason to get rid of these laws, thus the laws should remain.
However, it is obvious that revenue generation is not the primary reason for seat belt laws. They are simply a positive secondary side effect thereof.

This is evidenced by the fact that in most states, police cannot stop you solely for not wearing a seatbelt. This reduces the revenues a state can reap from the law, if they did want to harvest money from it. Also, remember that even with these restrictions, the law states that seatbelts are mandatory.

===
3.
My opponent points out that in one of my sources, the fine for adults who break the law is $10, while the fine for minors is $51.50. He assumes that this is because 'they' feel guilty enforcing it. First off, I'll point out that legislators make the law, and police officers enforce it. Police officers do not determine the fines, so the guilt they have enforcing it cannot possibly affect the fines. Let me conjure up a separate explanation: money is a bigger problem for minors than it is for adults. Paying a small fine like $50 isn't too bad for an adult with a good-paying job - the real incentive to wear a seatbelt for this age group comes from the trouble one must go through when given a citation. Further, minors are still forming their driving habits, so it is much more important to get them to wear seatbelts.

My opponent also brings up a supposed Police Officer he knows who refuses to uphold the law. That is only a testament to the hidden flexibility of a mandatory seat belt law. Sure, the law might make it mandatory that seatbelts be worn, but cops don't have to enforce it all the time. In fact, if all cops were like my opponent's supposed acquaintance, then my opponent would have nothing to complain about. In fact, it accomplishes the same thing as his advocacy, removing the laws, except is saves us the trouble of actually removing the laws - therefore, it is a superior advocacy, assuming the goals my opponent seeks are worthwhile.

My opponent then reveals the real reason he opposes seatbelt laws - a personal experience. My opponent was in an accident, and he didn't wear a seatbelt, and he walked away uninjured. My opponent must be making a very hasty generalization, I assume - to advocate that therefore seatbelts don't help increase safety overall. In fact, the facts bear me out on it - seatbelt-wearing people die half as often in crashes as non-seatbelt wearing people. I have already given the source for this, and it has not been contested.

===
4.
My opponent admits that it is impossible to know which type of accident you will be in. However, from this, he somehow concludes that each person should decide whether or not to wear a seatbelt. That makes little sense - if individuals have no information about which type of accident they might get into, they are quite unqualified to make that decision. Here is something we DO know, though. When we consider all accidents on average, wearing a seatbelt is half as likely to kill you as not wearing a seatbelt. This is not a statistic concerned with individual accidents, it is a comprehensive statistic including all accidents. Fortunately, we have a body that can make decisions on this same scope - the government. We know that overall, in all accidents, seatbelts increase safety. Therefore, on this same scope, we have each person wear a seatbelt. Let me give an example to make the point more clearly, before this is all over.

Let us say that there are two different games in a casino. Game A has odds that will, on average, provide you with twice the winnings of Game B. It is optimal, therefore, to play Game A with all of your money, and not play Game B at all. You see, the Government is the one playing in this casino, and we are its money. Of course, unlike money, we are autonomous decision makers. However, even with autonomous decision-making money, it would be best to at least try to make your money go towards Game A rather than Game B. That is exactly what the government is doing.

One last thing before I go: my opponent left me with a link to supposed statistics at the end of his R3. The link is a 404 - the page is not found - at least at the time of this writing.

I thank everyone who read, and I thank my opponent for having this debate
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mal 1 year ago
Mal
The united states was formed because we refused to pay King George III the unreasonable taxes. Therefore, the government can't "raise the taxes". Making us pay for not following stupid laws is just the governments loophole to getting money.
Posted by JonathanSmits 5 years ago
JonathanSmits
In agreeing with the contender, i will simply say that driving is a privelidge, that can be taken away
Posted by zoundmind 5 years ago
zoundmind
I cant wait till we dumb down to the point of seatbelts on motorcycles! P.s brawndo has electrolites
Posted by heart_of_the_matter 5 years ago
heart_of_the_matter
You guys have much cooler music I admit...but this is true ghostriding the whip.
Posted by s0m31john 5 years ago
s0m31john
>Video where driver never exits vehicle
nitpicking

Skip to 1:00
Posted by beem0r 5 years ago
beem0r
>Ghost-riding, frequently used in the context of "ghost-riding the whip" (a "whip" being a vehicle) or simply ghostin', is when a person puts the car in drive or allows it to idle and then the driver (and passengers) of a vehicle exit while it is still rolling and dance beside it or on the hood or roof.
>Video where driver never exits vehicle
facepalm.png
Posted by s0m31john 5 years ago
s0m31john
I don't wear a seatbelt. I don't even ride in the seat.
I just ghost ride the whip everywhere I go.
Posted by beem0r 5 years ago
beem0r
John - that begs the question.
They'd be defrauding you of your property IF seatbelt laws were unjustified, but you're arguing that they're not justified because they'll take your stuff.

Dancing nude in front of a school should not be illegal, because if it was, they would try to fine you and/or jail you for it. See how that doesn't work? First I would have to show that dancing in front of a school nude _shouldn't_ bring with it penalties, and at that point, I would already be done with my argument. I'm begging the question "Is dancing in front of schools nude penalty-worthy?"

Of course, I agree with you that not wearing a seatbelt is not penalty-worthy.
Posted by beem0r 5 years ago
beem0r
Wow, I totally missed the huge s@#$storm going on below - I only saw John's last comment.

And to get my own opinion out there, which I hinted at in my previous post, "safety laws" aren't my style.
Yes, I know there are negative effects on other people when someone dies. There are also negative effects on others when I tell my friend I hate him. Should there be a law against that? No. Why? Because telling my friend I hate him is not something I should not be able to do, just like riding in my car without a seatbelt on.

Of course, I neither tell my friends I hate them nor ride seatbeltless - because I'm not an idiot, not because I am morally or [in the case of seatbelts] legally obliged to.
Posted by s0m31john 5 years ago
s0m31john
They'll take my property (money) if I don't wear a seatbelt via tickets. If I refuse to allow them to steal my money they may resort to forcing me into a jail cell.
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