My Work

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NTSB and Texting

The state of Nevada, along with others, passed a law making the use of electronic communication devices illegal to use while operating a vehicle, and now, the federal government is suggesting the same law.  This is one more example of government doing something that is best left to private enterprise, along the same lines as mandatory seat belt use, motorcycle helmets, and child seats.  It also proves a secondary point: private enterprise often prefers government intervention.

The use of seat belts, the wearing of helmets, the non-use of communication devices could all be handled with one very small statement on each insurance policy that is issued, if the buyer of that policy wished it.  All it would have to say is something along these lines.

“This policy is null and void if
(Seat belts not used, communications devices being used,
helmets not worn, child seat not used).”

If the owner of the vehicle had the opportunity to opt out, he or she would be doing so from a position of knowledge, not being bludgeoned by an overzealous government.  Like smoking, most intelligent people are aware it is a health hazard, and are equally aware that seat belts are a proven safety device, as are helmets and child seats.  The actual point of course has very little to do with whether or not Big Brother gives two hoots and a damn about your safety, the true concept is one more opportunity to fine you.

Example.  I flew as a private pilot for many years, actually owned a couple of pretty nice little airplanes, and there was not then nor is there now any law, state or federal, that mandates the pilot or passengers in a private aircraft be belted.  Why?  There are no air cops to pull you over and give you a ticket.

I would be willing to bet a lot of money, maybe not as much as Mitt Romney wanted to bet the other night, but a lot, that the insurance lobbies in Washington will be pushing for all they are worth to get that federal law passed.  It takes the burden off their shoulders, but it increases the overall size of government intervention.  If the insurance industry is really interested in keeping us safe, thereby not paying out for injuries and death, they would take a strong position on this, take the lead, and make the use of seat belts, the wearing of helmets, and the non-use of communication devices a part of their plans.

Then again, maybe this is just my Libertarian streak coming to the surface.  If the National Transportation and Safety Administration actually gets that law passed, the government then will have another hammer to use against the states, and in turn, us.  I would love to hear what Thomas Jefferson might say if the Continental Congress had passed legislation mandating the use of a safety belt in his carriages.  The guffaws from old B. Franklyn would be echoing today. 

Have a great day, read good books, and stay regular.

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