Question of the Day: Do You Like Mandatory Anything?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman
question of the day do you like mandatory anything

My father was something of a libertarian. We were once talking about illegal drugs and he said, "Why should we stop anyone from eating rat poison or banging their head against a wall?" Fair enough. Yesterday my gal and I were driving around Los Angeles when we passed an electronic billboard reading, "Click it or Ticket." I got to thinking. First of all, why not a message like "Have a nice day" or "LA, We Love It!" Why is the default always some sort of Big Brother warning? Then I began thinking why on earth are the police able to profit from a person's decisions? Personally, I would never drive a car without buckling up. When did that stop being my choice? There's also a certain amount of cynicism in California's mandatory seatbelt law, for if they were really concerned about safety, the State would mandate roll cages, helmets and five-point harnesses, reducing the California's annual 4000+ motoring death rate to almost zero. Or, taken a bit further, if I want to, why can't I purchase a vehicle without 20 airbags, ABS, electronic interference and (gulp) seatbelts? Free market? Or am I just nuts?

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4 of 68 comments
  • Healinginfluence Healinginfluence on Jun 03, 2008

    In 2006 there were nearly 6 million reported motor vehicle traffic accidents. I think mandatory safety laws and safety devices are in the public interest. Even if a driver or passenger doesn't car we all pay for the injuries.

  • on Jun 03, 2008

    In general, I don't like the government interfering with my choices unless they directly harm another person. Therefore, I do not like seat belt laws, helmet laws, etc. Other driving regulations like stopping at a red light, no right turns from the far left lane, etc. make perfect sense because they will harm the other drivers on the road, but if I get in an accident and my injuries are more sever because I wasn't wearing a seat belt, that's my problem. Of course, not only do I fully support the right of people to make dumb decisions like not wearing a helmet while riding, but I also believe those people should pay for their stupid decisions with no government interference on that end of the equation either.

  • R H R H on Jun 03, 2008

    Just For the record> I am a motorcyclist with a crotch rocket (smallest one, 600cc). Before I rode a motorcycle I practiced wearing gear while on other peoples smaller bikes. I go with no less than a jacket (body armor, not just a leather thing), a helmet (full face snell + DOT), and gloves. If I don't have those pieces of equipment, I will not ride PERIOD. I also regularly wear armored boots & have just bought thick (1.2-1.4mm) leather pants. The only accidents I have been in were as follows 1) I signaled a right turn in no traffic (just one car several car lenghts behind me , and was in the left side of a 1 lane road with parallel parking spaces next to the lane. The person behind me, after I signalled CUT TO MY INSIDE ILLEGALLY THROUGH PARKING SPACES & cut me off and passed me in a little 12 year old econo-crapbox. I STOPPIED (yay for good brakes) and flipped over the handlebars at sub 20mph, the back of the bike went vertical. To this day I know the guy was so close passing me, I could have reached out & grabbed his door handle over my handlebars while I was going vertical/forward. 2) I was riding in December and hit some sand/salt/gravel and I lowsided. In both cases I ended up sliding across the ground for several feet on concrete & I came out without a scratch. Regarding helmet visibility> Not having peripheral vision in a helmet is the absolutely wrong reason to not be wearing one! If you took an MSF course you would know this, as you have several safety zones measured in "seconds" with the longest one being 12 or 13 seconds out! You should ALWAYS know who is around you, where your escape routes are, etc when riding a motorcycle (and probably a scooter or bicycle as well). Also, many reports have been done (I believe the hurt report is one) about helmet vs non-helmet use & visibility being a factor in crashes. It simply is not a factor on people wearing helmets.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jun 06, 2008

    I missed a lot being out of town over the last few days. I had to drop in and comment on the motorcycle helmet and libertarians. On helmets, one could make an argument (thought it's a bit of a stretch, that a cyclist without a helmet is a really big bullet when he gets hit in the face with flying debris and bike lodges itself in a car killing it's occupants. I would posit, though it's just a guess, that if accident and fatality "rates" are increasing (rates is in quotes because I find the term gets applied liberally, rather than properly) it would be due to many more people than normal joining the ranks of riders late in life. I will always believe that folks that have ridden bikes on dirt tracks (usually a youth activity) and know better how to play at the edges of control will be less likely to fall prey to anything other than bad judggement. Lastly, libertarians are no less diverse than so called "conservatives" and "liberals". They are in fact quite diverse and so our generalizing is not likely doing them or the label good service.