# News Three cheers for New Hampshire

#### russ_watters

Mentor
from dictionary.com

hippie:
a person, esp. of the late 1960s, who rejected established institutions and values....
Also from dictionary.com:
“It harkens to the libertarian ‘don’t tell me what to do’ streak that characterizes much of our politics here,” said the chairman of the House transportation committee, Jim Ryan, a proponent of the bill.
So how exactly is my usage of the word wrong? Is this not a very off-the-mainstream policy?

Yeah - I think extremism is crap. If you'd prefer the word didn't have that connotation because you identify (ied) with the values, that's just too bad. I do, however, enjoy how you guys completely ignore the argument in favor of attacking a single emotionally charged word - appropriate or not. And yet the only content in the OP was a 200 year-old propaganda slogan!

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#### devil-fire

should a business have the freedom to not install guard rails? employees are free to not work there after all.

any number of building regulations could fall under the same tree. should contractors be required to make buildings in a safe way as long as they inform the people that are using the building?

what about the sale of DDT and asbestos insulation for home use?

the freedom to be unsafe can apply to lots of things

#### russ_watters

Mentor
''their self-destructive lifestyles''
pot smoking and living free are NOT ''self-destructive ''
or at least as self-destructive as the avg buck driven wage slave
who drinks too much eats a high fat diet and is under stress
so dies early of a stroke or heart attack
You hit the nail on the head, ray - this is exactly what bothers me about the hippie ideal and laws that follow it. No, it may not be very self-destructive, but it is certainly irresponsible and that's what this issue is about - the freedom to be irresponsible and self-destructive without the accountability that necessarily goes with it. That's hippieism in a nutshell. And hippies that became yuppies, Bob, because they grew up and started taking personal responsibility for their actions. Promiscuity, drug use, idealism - these things aren't any different today than they were in the 60's except in the degree. But they are all just things that college kids do to blow-off steam. Most adults grow out of it.

Anyway, that fat guy who dies of a stroke or heart attack likely had his blood pressure tested last year and his insurance premiums went through the roof because of it. And so it should be fore people who choose to make other irresponsible choices. But somehow, I don't think my suggested alternate laws would pass...

edit: By the way - assuming this would affect 1/4 of the population of the state (total 1.3 million), it would require raising the insurance premiums for those who don't wear seatbelts by about $120/yr (based on the$48m estimated yearly savings). I rather suspect that few people would actually choose to opt-out of it if that were the choice...

edit2: I have another suggestion for a law: ship captain's are legally responsible for the safety of thsoe who ride on their ships. Let's make car drivers have the same responsibility: they don't need to wear seatbelts or require those in their cars to, but if their passenger gets hurt or killed while not wearing a seatbelt, they get arrested and charged with the appropriate level of criminal neglegence (in addition to paying the medical bills of the passenger). Sound good to you guys? (right now they have such laws, but they are loosely applied)

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#### Huckleberry

should a business have the freedom to not install guard rails? employees are free to not work there after all.

any number of building regulations could fall under the same tree. should contractors be required to make buildings in a safe way as long as they inform the people that are using the building?

what about the sale of DDT and asbestos insulation for home use?

the freedom to be unsafe can apply to lots of things
I don't quite get the comparison. A person putting on their seat belt protects primarily themselves. A business constructing guard rails is for the protection of others. People who work for a business are not the property of that business.

#### Huckleberry

Really? Do they support getting rid of Social Security and medicare too?

And why is it ok to force me to support people who choose not to educate themselves but not ok to force people not to kill themselves?

Why is it ok to have no personal responsibility for your actions, but have the government as a safety-net?

(caveat: several people suggested they should be allowed to opt-out of things like insurance and I'm ok with that).
The purpose of social systems isn't to provide a free ride for lazy people. I can't deny that some people do abuse the system, but many have a legitimate need for social service and medicare. We all pay into these government programs for the promoting of the general welfare of this nation. People have earned the right to use them. Not everyone who falls on hard times is irresponsible and uneducated. We earn wealth through society and have an individual responsibility to its welfare.

I don't see how a government has the capability to enforce laws to make a person live against their will, and I don't think they have the right to do so if they could. The government belongs to the people. We are not the property of the government. As long as our actions do not interfere with our social responsibility then the government has no business interfering with our actions, even if they are self-destructive. If society has no financial responsibility for any injury received by a person without a seatbelt, or there is a seperate provision for such people, then I don't see how society has any right to complain about these people's preferences for their own personal safety.

#### BobG

Homework Helper
Really? Do they support getting rid of Social Security and medicare too?

And why is it ok to force me to support people who choose not to educate themselves but not ok to force people not to kill themselves?

Why is it ok to have no personal responsibility for your actions, but have the government as a safety-net?

(caveat: several people suggested they should be allowed to opt-out of things like insurance and I'm ok with that).
To a significant extent, Social Security doesn't fall into the same category. The more you earn in income, the more money in Social Security benefits you receive after retirement.

Admittedly, it's a progressive increase, so the $9700 per year in benefits a$16,000 a year worker will receive in Social Security is a higher percentage of his working income than the $26,000 a year in benefits a$90,000 a year worker will get.

On the other hand, the taxable income for Social Security is capped at $90,000 a year, so those making more than$90,000 a year are paying lower Social Security Tax rates. 15% of the worker earnings are exempt from Social Security taxes due to the \$90,000 a year cap.

At least theoretically.

In reality, Social Security isn't sustainable in its current form. Either the cap will be raised to increase the amount of Social Security taxes high earners pay or benefits to high earners will be cut (percentage wise), bringing the benefits paid to high earner workers a lot closer to the benefits paid to low earner workers.

At that point, you'll be more correct in your description of Social Security as nothing more than a safety net for those that failed to earn much money over their life or to plan for retirement. (In fact, any younger worker would be foolish to look at it any other way, since the current form of Social Security won't exist when they retire.)

http://www.cbpp.org/3-21-05socsec.htm
http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20050309

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#### Evo

Mentor
If society has no financial responsibility for any injury received by a person without a seatbelt, or there is a seperate provision for such people, then I don't see how society has any right to complain about these people's preferences for their own personal safety.
So since society is held financially responsible for providing medical care for injuries to people injured due to not wearing a seatbelt (we all pay in some way, be it taxes, higher medical expenses, higher insurance) then you agree that society has the right to complain about these people?

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#### devil-fire

I don't quite get the comparison. A person putting on their seat belt protects primarily themselves. A business constructing guard rails is for the protection of others. People who work for a business are not the property of that business.
the comparison im trying to make is that people are no longer free to be in an unsafe work environment, they are no longer free to use unsafe buildings and people are also no longer free to use a number of hazardous products.

some here seems to be saying "of course i don't want to drive without my seatbelt, but i want to be able too". even though vary few people would want to use an unsafe building, many people might not want that freedom taken away from them.

i think the issue here is the right to be unsafe and my opinion is that it is a good thing to regulate unsafty, even though education alone should have the same effect

#### out of whack

The so-called freedoms to ride in open cabs, without seatbelts or without helmet on a motorcycle are all unnecessary. There is much more to lose than to gain by protecting your right to burden the state when you put yourself at risk without any other valid reason than being stubborn and/or stupid. "Opting out" of insurance or other support systems doesn't work either: people will not let you die from an accident, that would be illegal and immoral. And once you're paraplegic and without insurance, someone will still have to pay for your care, thanks to your precious right to decide. It's unfair that others should pay for your stupidity. So yes, my opinion is shut up and buckle up, it's reasonable and it's fair.

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#### drankin

The so-called freedoms to ride in open cabs, without seatbelts or without helmet on a motorcycle are all unnecessary. There is much more to lose than to gain by protecting your right to burden the state when you put yourself at risk without any other valid reason than being stubborn and/or stupid. "Opting out" of insurance or other support systems doesn't work either: people will not let you die from an accident, that would be illegal and immoral. And once you're paraplegic and without insurance, someone will still have to pay for your care, thanks to your precious right to decide. It's unfair that others should pay for your stupidity. So yes, my opinion is shut up and buckle up, it's reasonable and it's fair.
So if I get in a car accident and die because I did not have a seat belt on, how does this cost the tax-payer more money than if I get in an accident with my seat belt on and live? If I live, I will surely be more costly to care for than if I die.

#### Evo

Mentor
So if I get in a car accident and die because I did not have a seat belt on, how does this cost the tax-payer more money than if I get in an accident with my seat belt on and live? If I live, I will surely be more costly to care for than if I die.
Ambulance, coroner's office, autopsy. That's if you're dead before they get there. If you die shortly after they get to you the cost can be astronomical, especially if you are taken to an emergency room. Not to mention the thousands of dollars a month in Social security benefits paid to your survivors.

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#### devil-fire

theres a Loooong ways between being ok and dead. a seatbelt might leave someone with some nasty bruises in the same accident that would leave someone with broken limbs, huge amounts of road rash, skin graphs, reconstructive surgery, damaged internal organs and the need for a blood transfusion.

#### out of whack

So if I get in a car accident and die because I did not have a seat belt on, how does this cost the tax-payer more money than if I get in an accident with my seat belt on and live? If I live, I will surely be more costly to care for than if I die.
I don't think you are being serious with this reply. Following this line of thinking, all safety measures should be eliminated along with seat belts. If in fact you were serious then I think you need to give it more thought.

#### Huckleberry

I see two main problems here.

1. There is a financial expense to society when a person needlessly injures themselves. This is a valid reason for the requirement to use a seat bealt. It would be just as irresponsible (even if it would be justice) for society to let people die needlessly. There are solutions to this that allow freedom, but they require the individual to be responsible.

I'll pose some possible solutions.
A. Insurance companies do not cover medical expenses for unbelted drivers/passengers.
B. Insurance companies have a seperate, much higher rate, for people that choose not to wear their seat belts. If the person who enters into this contract is injured in a manner that a seat belt would have prevented then refer to solution 1.
C. Insurance companies only pay an amount of medical expenses that is statictically shown not to raise the national average in cases where a person was injured while not wearing a seat belt. (People can be injured even while wearing a seat belt. If the medical expenses of those only involved in accidents where the injured person was wearing a seatbelt were averaged, then this amount could be the 'cap' for those who are involved in an accident while not wearing a seatbelt. This would make a negligible difference in the national average expense.)

2. The second problem I see is a matter of responsibility. Are we responsible for the government, or is the government responsible for us, or is it a combination of both?

I am of the opinion that society is responsible for the government, and the government is responsible for enforcing the laws that we, as a society, deem best for ourselves. We give it authority over us, but society bears the responsibility. I see a properly functioning government as an employee of the society responsible for it. So, if an individual takes an action that only harms that individual, isn't it their right to govern themselves? If this person's act doesn't injure society, then why should society be involved in the responsibility of the individual's act?

#### Huckleberry

How many people actually wear a seat belt because there is a law requiring it? From my experience it still seems to be a matter of choice, and not an action that people take because a law exists that requires them to.

Motorcycles don't have seat belts. They are significantly more dangerous to ride than automobiles. Should we make motorcycles illegal? Why are the insurance rates for motorcycles lower than for automobiles? Are the medical expenses incurred while in a motorcycle accident less expensive than those incurred in a vehicle?
Buses don't all have seat belts. Should we make a law that they do?

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#### MeJennifer

I've always been found of New Hampshire for their State motto if nothing else: Live free or die. They understand what America and liberty are all about. "Freedom" means free to make bad decisions, like not wearing a seat belt.
I have no problem with this freedom to be stupid as long as I, my insurance company and society does not have to pay for the hospital bills.

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#### drankin

How many people actually wear a seat belt because there is a law requiring it? From my experience it still seems to be a matter of choice, and not an action that people take because a law exists that requires them to.

Motorcycles don't have seat belts. They are significantly more dangerous to ride than automobiles. Should we make motorcycles illegal? Why are the insurance rates for motorcycles lower than for automobiles? Are the medical expenses incurred while in a motorcycle accident less expensive than those incurred in a vehicle?
Buses don't all have seat belts. Should we make a law that they do?
Motorcycle insurance is less expensive because they can do less damage to another vehicle or their drivers. Rarely is a driver of a 4 wheeled vehicle injured or killed by a motorcyclist. My state doesn't even require motorcycle insurance.

There are two kinds of motorcyclists, those who have gone done, and those that are going down. It's part of the riding a bike.

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#### daveb

I'll pose some possible solutions.
A. Insurance companies do not cover medical expenses for unbelted drivers/passengers.
B. Insurance companies have a seperate, much higher rate, for people that choose not to wear their seat belts. If the person who enters into this contract is injured in a manner that a seat belt would have prevented then refer to solution 1.
C. Insurance companies only pay an amount of medical expenses that is statictically shown not to raise the national average in cases where a person was injured while not wearing a seat belt.
The biggest problem I see with this is that the more grave the injury, the more expensive treatment costs. Someone has to pay for it. If a person "opts out", then the segment of society that pays for it is the hospital itself, unless of course the individual is wealthy enough to afford to pay for it alone. If the hospital pays for it, then the rest of society pays for it in increased medical costs.

The true question then becomes, do seatbelts reduce severity of inuries sustained? While there are many studies that show this is the case (a Google search will show many sources), there are also questions about whether people who don't use seatbelts are simply more unsafe than those who do wear seatbelts, and thus are in more injurious accidents.

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#### drankin

Ambulance, coroner's office, autopsy. That's if you're dead before they get there. If you die shortly after they get to you the cost can be astronomical, especially if you are taken to an emergency room. Not to mention the thousands of dollars a month in Social security benefits paid to your survivors.
Social security shouldn't be part of the argument. It's paid now or it's paid later and it depends on what the deceased paid into it. All the costs when you die are one time costs. SS was created so that it would be used, not unused.

If the person escaped death and is merely injured because of wearing a seatbelt, those costs could be much higher after the lawyers get done. I can't count how many commercials I see from injury lawyers boasting of getting hundreds of thousands of dollars out of insurance companies because of accident injuries. It's expensive either way but I'd wager it's cheaper if the driver dies than lives.

#### Huckleberry

The biggest problem I see with this is that the more grave the injury, the more expensive treatment costs. Someone has to pay for it. If a person "opts out", then the segment of society that pays for it is the hospital itself, unless of course the individual is wealthy enough to afford to pay for it alone. If the hospital pays for it, then the rest of society pays for it in increased medical costs.
They really should have thought of that before they went for a ride without their seat belt. I would argue that the price for medical care is too expensive, but seeing as it is so high, people should think of this when they choose not to wear their seat belts. I believe in individual responsibility. They can spend the rest of their lives paying their medical bills. That was their decision when they didn't buckle up, just like any uninsured motorist. I've never known a hospital to pay anyone's medical bills.

Frankly, I don't think there would be much difference in the expense to society if the law were repealed. The assumption in this thread so far seems to be that if there wasn't a law requiring the use of seat belts that there would be an additional expense to society from unbelted injuries. I doubt the effectiveness of the seat belt law, so I don't necessarily see any correlation between repealing the law and additional injuries.

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#### drankin

They really should have thought of that before they went for a ride without their seat belt. I would argue that the price for medical care is too expensive, but seeing as it is so high, people should think of this when they choose not to wear their seat belts. I believe in individual responsibility. They can spend the rest of their lives paying their medical bills. That was their decision when they didn't buckle up, just like any uninsured motorist. I've never known a hospital to pay anyone's medical bills.

Frankly, I don't think there would be much difference in the expense to society if the law were repealed. The assumption in this thread so far seems to be that if there wasn't a law requiring the use of seat belts that there would be an additional expense to society from unbelted injuries. I doubt the effectiveness of the seat belt law, so I don't necessarily see any correlation between repealing the law and additional injuries.
If anything, their would be more deaths. Hence the phrase, "seat belts save lives". I don't think society suffers monetarily through higher medical expenses when someone is dead. I will say that I could be wrong, I don't have the stats, but it seems to me that this the case.

#### daveb

They really should have thought of that before they went for a ride without their seat belt.
I'm not sure I understand the relevance of this. My point is that allowing an opt out clause will increase costs to society based on the assumption that those who exercise the opt-out will have more serious injuries, should an accident occur. These increased costs are borne not by the person, but by society. Thus, opt-out should not be available. (we can debate later about whether lack of seatbelts does increase injury severity).

I would argue that the price for medical care is too expensive, but seeing as it is so high, people should think of this when they choose not to wear their seat belts. I believe in individual responsibility. They can spend the rest of their lives paying their medical bills. That was their decision when they didn't buckle up, just like any uninsured motorist. I've never known a hospital to pay anyone's medical bills.
Yes, they should pay for it for the rest of their lives. However, this isn't always the case, which is the problem. If there were a way to enforce thaem paying for the rest of their lives, I have no problem with opt-out clauses. The problem with this is that since medical care is so expensive, it could amount to slavery if the person owes so much that they literally have to work several jobs just to keep up with payments, and have nothing left over for basic necessities.

Frankly, I don't think there would be much difference in the expense to society if the law were repealed. The assumption in this thread so far seems to be that if there wasn't a law requiring the use of seat belts that there would be an additional expense to society from unbelted injuries. I doubt the effectiveness of the seat belt law, so I don't necessarily see any correlation between repealing the law and additional injuries.
I would tend to agree for most cases that the increased cost will not be seen. I base this in part on the assumption that if the law were repealed, very few people would decide, "Heck, now I can go without! Whoopee!!!!" If they were that opposed to it in the first place, I would hazard a guess they just don't obey the law in the first place. Of course, there would be some finite percentage that would decide that since it is no longer a law, they would do without the seatbelt. That's a difficult to quantify number, unfortunately, so until it can be quantified, I would prefer a seatbelt law.

#### Evo

Mentor
Social security shouldn't be part of the argument. It's paid now or it's paid later and it depends on what the deceased paid into it. All the costs when you die are one time costs. SS was created so that it would be used, not unused.
Let's say this person dies and has three young children and a wife. The kids are 1, 3 & 5. They will receive survivor benefits until they are 18 years old, I will have to check for how long the wife receives benefits. This is MUCH MORE paid out in benefits than if the non-belt wearer started getiing benefits at age 72 and only collected for himself for a few years. This is a HUGE drain on Social Security.

#### BobG

Homework Helper
Seatbelts not only save lives, they reduce the severity of injuries, which does reduce medical costs.

I still see a problem with the cost to other insurance customers and taxpayers being the justification for mandatory seatbelt laws.

How about mandatory helmet laws for motorcyclists? Head protection gives a motorcyclist a better chance of surviving an accident. The side effect is the other injuries a motorcyclist sustains have to be treated, which increases the cost to other insurance customers and taxpayers. Since helmets increase medical costs for motorcyclists involved in an accident, should we have mandatory no-helmet laws instead?

In any event, as someone else at least alluded to, the medical costs aren't the main driver behind increased insurance costs. Cars are built safer, which isn't the same as being built more durable. Every piece of sheet metal that bends or flies off your car in an accident carries away some momentum, sparing the passengers from an even harder impact. That also means the expense of minor accidents skyrockets since the damage to cars is greater and more expensive to repair. Once again, we're paying a higher cost in insurance to increase the safety of motorists. Reduced safety requirments would reduce insurance costs and make cars cheaper to buy as well.

Most people would find it unethical to make life more dangerous for other people just to save a buck or two. Personally, I think it's just as unethical to start taking people's liberties away just to save a buck or two.

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#### BobG

Homework Helper
Let's say this person dies and has three young children and a wife. The kids are 1, 3 & 5. They will receive survivor benefits until they are 18 years old, I will have to check for how long the wife receives benefits. This is MUCH MORE paid out in benefits than if the non-belt wearer started getiing benefits at age 72 and only collected for himself for a few years. This is a HUGE drain on Social Security.
The 1 year old is the driving factor. The benefit paid to the surviving kids is divided up among the number of kids (just in case the kids get split up, I guess?) When the oldest graduates and is no longer eligible for benefits, that kid's share is split among the other kids, leaving the total benefits paid out constant.

I'm not sure how the benefits paid to the wife are affected by benefits paid to the kids.

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