From the July 2003 Idaho Observer:
Washington judges rule state seatbelt law unconstitutional
The several states began passing mandatory seatbelt use laws in the mid 80s. States that passed seatbelt laws were availed of highway repair and construction funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The USDOT claims that seatbelts save lives though there is at least an equal amount evidence to suggest the opposite is true -- that seatbelts cost lives and. In June, 2002, the state of Washington began its Clickit-Ticket campaign: Drivers can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. On June 13, Snohomish County (Wash.) Superior Court Judge Ron Castlebury threw out a case because he determined the officer did not have the right to stop a car because its occupants were not wearing seatbelts. Judges in Skagit and Pacific counties have made similar rulings. Police claim seatbelt law enforcement is necessary to keep people safe. Skeptics believe seatbelt laws are just a tool police use to stop cars and run peoples' ID. Since no legitimate seatbelt safety studies prove seatbelts save lives and minimize injuries, the latter is probably more likely.
Preliminary data supplied by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) indicates that at least 653 people were killed on Washington State Highways in 2002, sadly this number is bound to increase as more data comes in. This is the highest amount of highway deaths since 1998, and comes on the heals of the controversial CLICKIT! OR TICKET! zero tolerance seatbelt ticket writing blitz.
The rise in overall highway deaths is no surprise to Professor John Adams of London, England who has studied the seatbelt issue extensively. Professor Adams maintains that the extra emphasis on seatbelt laws makes the risks for motorcyclists, bicycles and others increase. His conclusions are born out in the preliminary WTSC statistics as more motorcyclists (59) died on Washington Highways than in any year EVER. While highway deaths in Urban areas experienced a reduction death rates in rural areas are up.
Roy Ruffino and Dan Goebel, authors of the CLICKIT? STICKIT! initiative I-836, which is currently being circulated and if passed in the November 2003 election would return the adult seatbelt law to being a secondary infraction are not surprised that as more information is made available that it becomes clearer that the primary enforcement of the seatbelt law in Washington State is more about the state capturing more revenue than in promoting public safety.
It stands to reason, Ruffino says, that as more officers and their valuable time is spent spying on otherwise law abiding citizens to see if their seatbelt is properly adjusted, that more dangerous drivers will not be apprehended.
Goebel states, Professor Adams has spent a great deal of time researching the seatbelt issue and as people feel more safe driving with seatbelts on they may drive more aggressively, causing more accidents and endangering others on the road.
The CLICKIT? STICKIT! initiative, sponsored by the Washington Seatbelt Coalition (WSC) can be reached at www.i-836.org
Home - Current Edition
Advertising Rate Sheet
About the Idaho Observer
Some recent articles
Some older articles
Why we're here
Corrections and Clarifications
Vaccination Liberation - vaclib.org
The Idaho Observer
P.O. Box 457
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869