The government has no right to make laws mandating the use of a seatbelt.
You and a friend are driving along the highway having a perfectly normal day. You are obeying most traffic laws and safety regulations. This means you are staying at or under the speed limit, and you are not driving like there is a swarm of killer bees in your car. Your friend is wearing his seatbelt, but you are not. It is a sad truth, but not everyone likes to go the speed limit. Your legal speed annoys the driver of the tractor trailer following you. The driver attempts to overtake you, but while you are neck and neck, a mighty gust of wind sweeps the trailer into the side of your car and knocks you over an embankment. Your car goes rolling down the side of the hill, ejecting you through the already broken windshield and sending you flying through the air until you hit the ground at a horrifying speed. Your friend, whose seatbelt has kept him restrained in the vehicle, finds himself still inside the car, which is now wrapped around a tree. The car is on fire and your friend is stuck in it because his seatbelt will not unbuckle. Your friend perishes because he was obeying the law, and you walk away from the accident with some broken bones and a sore neck.
This scenario might sound a little out of the ordinary. Fatal vehicle accidents reported in the news usually end their report with “the driver was not wearing a seatbelt.” While it has been proven over and over again that safety belts do save lives, there is also numerous evidence that suggests seatbelts can be dangerous in certain types of crashes. But whether they are a life saver or a cause of death, forty nine states have mandatory
seat belt laws, meaning a person can be fined for not buckling up (Seidman). At first, these laws seem to make a lot of sense. If it is going to save lives, why not make seatbelts mandatory? But when analyzed a little more closely, one realizes that these laws are an infringement on our independent liberties provided to us in the United States Constitution.
There is no arguing that seatbelts have saved plenty of lives. It has been tested, documented, and retested thousands of times in plenty of different studies, some sponsored by the government and others by vehicle manufacturers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2004, 31,693 occupants of passenger vehicles were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of the 29,510 passenger vehicle occupant fatalities for which restraint use was known, an estimated 16,364 (55%) were unrestrained (NHTSA 2006). However, this statistic does not prove what it is implying. While fifty-five percent of the people who died in a car accident were not wearing seatbelts, it can not be proven that if they had been wearing one, they would have lived. After all, the reverse of this statistic, which is true, completely changes its connotation: Forty-five percent of the people killed in a car accident in 2004 were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.