I thank Sen. Eric Brakey for opening a long overdue discussion on seat belt law.

I retired from law enforcement, working before and after the law was passed. As I recall, Maine voters were browbeat into passing a law, thanks to insurance industry lobbying and strong-arm federal tactics. Voters shot down a law twice but, when threatened with losing the return of federal tax money for roads, the weak-kneed Maine voters passed the law. New Hampshire never required adult use of belts and they have roads that appear to me to be superior.

I agree that seat belts save lives and should be in vehicles and required for those under 18. I’m also well aware that belt use can kill. I would have died in 1968 had I been wearing mine. I’m aware of other examples, including death.

Heart disease, not car accidents, is the primary killer. Do we want a law regulating meat and cheese consumption?

Adults should be able to choose, as they do in other dangerous activities, such as winter hiking, technical climbing, racing and so forth.

The fact that one can be ticketed, while a school bus with 60 or so unbelted kids rides by, has always bothered me. It’s also interesting that Maine never passed a helmet law.

Perhaps this would free officers to enforce the causes of accidents, such as failure to yield, following too closely and stop sign violations.

Dwight Mills, Greenwood


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