BY FRANK PARLATO
Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, once again, is reminding motorists that the nanny state ‘Click It or Ticket’ revenue generator will be in effect between May 23 to June 5, just ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
The county sheriff’s department says it will likely set up checkpoints and inspect and search cars in its efforts to force people to wear seatbelts.
And they will give tickets worth perhaps tens of thousands of dollars to citizens who thought they would make their own safety decisions inside their own property [car].
“Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes,” said Sheriff Howard to explain the godvernment agenda.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2014 were not restrained. The other half had seatbelts on and died anyway.
“Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night,” according to a press release sent out by the sheriff this week.
Despite the fact that there are cases where not wearing a seat belt has proven to have saved a life, all but one state has decided they will collect revenue on any individual spotted not wearing a seat belt.
Seat belt law enforcement in recent years has become a significant revenue generator for municipalities.
34 states – including that prince among nanny states – New York – have primary seat belt laws for front seat occupants. 15 states have secondary laws.
A primary offense allows officers to arrest and ticket a driver or passenger not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic offense taking place. Secondary seat belt laws state that law enforcement officers may issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable traffic infraction.
New Hampshire, whose state motto is “Live Free or Die”, has enacted neither a primary nor a secondary seat belt law for adults.
Thanks to programs like Click it or Ticket, seat belt law enforcement has also become a revenue generator for local law enforcement departments who collect grants from federal and state agencies to operate road blocks and search citizens’ vehicles for seat belt compliance. The grants also encourage random targeting of motorists allowing incentives to high ticket producing officers to collect overtime to patrol and ticket non-compliant individuals.
The seat belt law is noteworthy also as one of the first American laws that breached the once sacred principle of liberty that an individual is free to do anything that does not injure another and that government is not responsible citizens’ personal safety decisions.
In New York, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is $150 for the first offense.
The Erie County Sheriff’s Office will have multiple dedicated road patrols and the possibility of road check sites set up throughout the county during this campaign.
Sheriff Howard said, “The bottom line is that seat belts save lives. If these enforcement crackdowns get people’s attention and get them to buckle up, then we’ve done our job.”
In a nanny state that is their job.
A family member of mine died in a car wreck because she wasn’t wearing a seat belt. If a cop had pulled her over just before her accident and ticketed her, he would have saved her life.