The seat belt issue

Allen Kelling won’t be around to hear this year’s legislative debate over whether you should be required to wear seat belts. The 19-year-old Braham, Minn., man was killed Friday night when his car was broadsided at the intersection of Hwys. 107 and 70, the Star Tribune reported in the section of the paper that contains several similar incidents day after day after day. All are sad stories of, in many cases, senseless deaths. Allen was not wearing a seat belt, according to the newspaper. A passenger in Kelling’s car and the person driving the other car were not seriously hurt. They were wearing seat belts.

An annual bill that would give police the power to stop you for not wearing a seat belt is one of the first initiatives of some lawmakers. It would cost the driver $100 for not wearing a seat belt and the driver would get fined $75 more for each passenger not buckled in.

The debate will offer nothing new. Proponents will point to a declining death toll on the state’s highways as evidence why it’s needed. Opponents, backed by talk show hosts who have wrung out every last shred of material from the Franken-Coleman recount, will claim this is the line in the sand Minnesotans must draw between freedom and fascism. It’s bad enough we’re already required to use our turn signals.

Three years ago, Republicans killed the bill by sending it to a committee and not giving it a hearing. Two years ago, DFLers in the Senate ganged up on it. Last year it was the House’s turn and even some of the more — and now retired — liberal lawmakers said no. Turning the issue on its head as only the Minnesota legislator can, some of the most conservative Republicans voted for it.

I won’t bother wading into that end of the debate. I am interested in this aspect of the issue: Forgetting the issue of whether it is isn’t or isn’t the law to wear your seat belt, why don’t you? Is it too hard? Uncomfortable?

  • nevermind

    allen was the one that go smashed into and why would you use him in this debate that can not be right it is b… s… if you ask me to use him specifically like this get it fixed please

  • http://northrockpub.com chris dohman

    yup, i wear my seat belt even when a passenger, even go as far as having my passengers do the same.

    back in high school a buddy had a car with great fitting buckets seats with good belts to go with them. it felt good and even cool to wear them like a race car driver would. plus the way he drove it made you feel much more secure! i’ve worn them ever since.

    also, my first car was a vw rabbit and it had auto seat belts that wrapped around you when you got in. it was handy and the habit stuck.

  • John

    I wear a seat belt, but I feel this is a personal responsibility issue and I don’t think it should be a law. People know the risks of not wearing a seat belt, and if they choose not to, then that should be their choice. I feel the same way about helmets.

  • Bob Collins

    Sorry about your loss, nevermind. There’s an old saying among pilots. The aviation laws are written in blood. Sadly, that’s true and it’s true for traffic laws too.

  • Bob Collins

    //I wear a seat belt, but I feel this is a personal responsibility issue

    I get that. I’m asking why those who make the choice NOT to, make that choice.

  • bsimon

    Is this a budget issue? If not, why on earth is anyone at the capitol talking about it? Or are all the budget questions in committee, and whomever’s pet project is seatbelt use needs something to do?

  • http://northrockpub.com chris dohman

    sorry bob, i’m thinking you are not going to get many folks leaving a comment about how they are too cool, lazy and selfish to wear a belt.

    the selfish sort who say it’s their life don’t seem to give a rip about their family who would be without them because of it.

  • Jefferson

    When I have asked other people why they don’t wear a seat belt they start saying that many people have been killed because they WERE wearing seat belts. I don’t agree, but I’ve heard that argument often. Thanks.

  • Bob Collins

    I’ve heard that, too, which implies the decision was based on some sort of actuarial data. That significant thought and research went into the decision.

    //too cool, lazy and selfish to wear a belt.

    Everybody know that once you’re in your car, nobody can see you. How else to explain all the truly weird things I see people doing when I, ummm, look at them? (g)

  • CaliGuy

    //I get that. I’m asking why those who make the choice NOT to, make that choice.

    If you’re intention was not to focus on the personal responsibility nature of seat belts, why throw a comment about freedom v. fascism and lines in the sand into your post?

    Let’s be clear, though — it makes sense to wear your seatbelt.

    At the same time, there should be a law against laws that attempt to protect people from themselves.

  • Gnorm

    //bsimon Is this a budget issue?

    If you can keep seatbelted drivers and passengers on the taxpaying rolls rather than in graves, it helps the income side of the budget. Oh, and there’s that $100-a-pop tax on recklessness.

    //CaliGuy At the same time, there should be a law against laws that attempt to protect people from themselves.

    How about laws that attempt to protect people from the public expense (state-borne medical expenses, long term assistance) of other people not protecting themselves?

  • Bob Collins

    //If you’re intention was not to focus on the personal responsibility nature of seat belts, why throw a comment about freedom v. fascism and lines in the sand into your post?

    The post is self explanatory. Move along.

  • Bob

    I choose not to wear a seat belt because I don’t have any loved ones who depend on me, or who would miss me when I’m gone.

    Even if I do have loved ones, and I survive a crash and am horribly maimed or in a coma, I don’t care about the anguish that they will suffer.

    I choose not to wear a seat belt because I don’t care if doing so increases the cost of health care for society as a whole.

    I choose not to wear a seat belt because I have bought into the bogus claim that it’s a matter of personal freedom; it’s in keeping with my personal freedom to be uncaring and selfish if I want to.

  • bsimon

    “How about laws that attempt to protect people from the public expense (state-borne medical expenses, long term assistance) of other people not protecting themselves?”

    Personally, I am uncomfortable with the idea that the state should legislate behavior based on the hypothetical premise of saving money. Should we ban people’s access to the boundary waters or state forests because sometimes people get lost and we spend a lot of money rescuing them?

  • Anita

    Sorry this is not a comment about seat belts really… I wear mine 100% of the time and I make all passengers do so as well.

    If they really wanted to do something about traffic deaths, why not *require* that helmets be worn by all motorcyclists/bicyclists/scooterers? It’s a heck of a lot easier to enforce for one thing – you can easily see if someone isn’t wearing one. How do we know they wouldn’t just use “Oh it looked like you weren’t wearing your seat belt” as an excuse for pulling over people they want to harass? When I’m stopped at a light next to someone, it’s hard enough to tell if they’re strapped in or not. I wonder how they propose to enforce this? Stupid law, waste of time.

  • Bob Collins

    //Should we ban people’s access to the boundary waters or state forests because sometimes people get lost and we spend a lot of money rescuing them?

    No, but we do have rules banning outdoor burning when conditions are right.

    The question becomes: is there a public interest in certain restrictions vs. personal freedom? Perhaps I should have the right to have a campfire in the BWCA whenever I please. The reason why I can’t seems obvious.

    But is there a public benefit to be had by people wearing seatbelts? Is that a factor in people deciding? Is it a factor in deciding whether your passengers have to buckle up? It’s your insurance that covers them if they’re hurt while you’re driving, right? And if your insurance pays more because of medical claims, doesn’t that mean *my* insurance goes up, too, because insurance is a shared risk pool?

  • brian

    Isn’t it already illegal to not wear a seatbelt? You can get a ticket for not wearing one, but police can’t pull you over for that reason. Or am I mixing up Wisconsin and Minnesota?

    In my experience, people who grew up getting told “buckle your seatbelt” every time they got in the car basically always wear one. It is people that weren’t (or were born before they were standard) that are annoyed by them.

    While my first inclination is that seatbelts should of course be mandatory, after thinking about it a little I’m coming more over to the other side. I guess I don’t see much difference between not wearing a seatbelt and smoking. No matter how stupid, we can’t ban them outright (although we ban other drugs for some reason). Maybe we should put little sensors in every car and tax non-seatbelt users.

  • brian

    “And if your insurance pays more because of medical claims, doesn’t that mean *my* insurance goes up, too, because insurance is a shared risk pool?”

    This was the reasoning my driver’s ed teacher gave as to how the government has the authority mandate seatbelts and their use.

  • krj

    Personally I think the point has been missed in this discussion.

    Wearing seatbelts is already in the books as law. Should a police officer be allowed to stop you if they see you NOT wearing your seatbelt?

    This gets contentious because it allows the police to stop someone on a ‘minor’ infraction and these type of stops have been suspected to increase racial profiling.

  • gp

    brian- you’re right. currently you CAN get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, but police can’t pull you over for not wearing one. The legislature wants to make not-wearing-a-seatbelt a primary offense so that you can be pulled over for that single infraction.

    If I recall correctly, some legislators were concerned about the possibility of racial profiling and police abuse of the seatbelt law. Some were hesitant to grant police the power to pull over anyone suspected of not wearing a seatbelt. It is hard to tell sometimes if the driver is wearing a seatbelt, and it would provide police with an excuse to pull over just about anybody.

  • Meghan

    I have a good friend who, on at least three occasions, I have told to “buckle up” when she’s gotten into my car. I imagine asking her why she doesn’t automatically do this and think she’d probably shrug her shoulders and say, “I don’t know.”

    I agree with Brian that most people who strap in automatically were told to do so as youngsters, as I was. It’s one of those healthy habits that gets carried into adulthood, like flossing, that your parents may or may not have stressed to you.

    I cringe when people suggest that it’s because people are selfish or lazy. It’s anecdotal, but my friend is actually quite energetic and has a master’s degree. My pediatrician was a stickler for helmet and seat belt-wearing. It’s a public health issue that can be addressed with education.

  • bsimon

    gp writes

    “you CAN get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, but police can’t pull you over for not wearing one. The legislature wants to make not-wearing-a-seatbelt a primary offense so that you can be pulled over for that single infraction.”

    Exactly. If its already against the law, why is the legislature spending time on this, rather than, I don’t know, addressing the enormous (and growing) budget deficit??

    If people are getting hurt because they’re not wearing seatbelts, the problem that needs to be solved is that people are crashing. Shouldn’t cops be pulling people over for speeding, or driving drunk, or running red lights, rather than becoming seat belt enforcers?

  • Duke Powell

    Bob, in this story you stated, “Three years ago, Republicans killed the bill by sending it to a committee and not giving it a hearing.” That is not true. This link, provided in the story, is correct – “A companion bill stalled in the House is HF1087. Its chief sponsor, Rep. Duke Powell, has pulled it from consideration.”

    I was chief author of the House bill. The major supporters approached me to sponsor the legislation. I agreed, but only under certain conditions which they accepted. The bill was granted a hearing. However, on the day of the hearing, the committee chairman privately told me that those conditions that I insisted upon were not going to be honored. The fact was that I had been lied to. My response was to cancel the hearing until my conditions were met. They never were.

  • http://northrockpub.com chris dohman

    RE: meg’s “I cringe when people suggest that it’s because people are selfish or lazy.”

    hi meg, my “too lazy, cool or selfish to give a rip” comment came out too harsh but i think it does have some truth in it. i don’t mean to put those labels on a person as a whole.

    the never-stop, marathon-running doctor can make lazy/easy way decisions at times but is in no means a lazy person. the lazy reason probably is not the cause in most cases where people are not buckling up though.

    the selfish thing is similar. the person may be the nicest most giving person there is but the choice of using the seat belt is a selfish one, which simply means the decision is motivated by self-interest. it doesn’t make them a bad person.

    this then brings it back around to the cool thing. the quest to be cool i would argue is most often about trying to live up to one’s own perception of cool rather than to somebody else’s….

    …cheers gang!

  • Katherine A. Cooper

    Bob — thank you for your support of this legislation. May I just remind everyone that it already IS THE LAW in Minnesota to wear your seat belt. This legislation is just an upgrade to the existing law that will allow

    for enforcement of the law. LIKE ALL OTHER TRAFFIC LAWS. The personal choice debate has already been

    lost, in 1986 when Minnesota passed its seat belt law.

  • George

    The State has many enforceable laws based on protecting the public health and welfare. Adding enforcement to the seat belt law is a detail that needs to be added so that flat-earth types get the message.

    Seriously I don’t think gun control arouses more passion which simply goes to show that the more trivial the issue the more pasionately we argue it to death. (Unless the issue happens to be wearing a seatbelt, of course…)

  • Bob Collins

    Just to be clear: I offer no support for this legislation. I am curious, however, about the circumstances for its necessity.

  • Eliabeth T

    There is a great ad for why you should make your passengers wear them. … … which I just discovered is no longer on YouTube due to copyright claims.

    Anyway – the ad is 4 young people getting in a car with happy music playing. Laughing, etc. Only one person is not wearing a belt. A rather plausible accident occurs on a lovely country lane. One belted passenger is dead at the end due to the un-belted person being thrown around the car cabin.

    You being un-belted also presents a hazard to others in the vehicle.

    And, lest you doubt this could occur, a good friend at GM’s Safety Engineering sent me a video of a real test car where the real un-belted driver fell asleep at the wheel, plowed into something, and bounced across the cabin twice and finally wound up sideways across the rear sundeck. He could have greatly injured someone sitting in the back seat.

    The only time I’ve not worn a seat belt (since 1972 or so), the driver had an accident which I’m lucky to have walked away from.

  • Jason

    I’m Allen Kellings uncle. I agree that in most cases seatbelts save lives and I always wear mine. However who is anyone to say that we should have to wear them as adults, children under 18 yes I think they should have to wear them and parents should be liable if there children aren’t wearing them. Really, when are we gonna stop controlling everything we do, are there soon gonna be regulations on when we have to change our underwear.

    It’s obsured for anyone to say Allen would be here had he been wearing his seatbelt. If everyone read the report they’d know that Allens car was hit on his side and if they think that the injuries from the impact weren’t enough to take his life then they obviosly have know idea about his injuries or why the others involved were not seriously injured.

    I guess the moral of my rambling is if your going to use this as an example for your seatbelt statistics then you may actually be making an arguement for the other side. Please get the facts and know what your talking about before you print your so called facts.

  • Stinky JOhnson

    We really don’t know if he had a seat belt on or not, and even if he had one on it would have made absolutely no difference at all, they are pretty much useless in a side impact crash like this, for the most part seat belts really do not make that much difference anyway, you would be amazed to know how many of them will come unlatched in an accident anyway and then it was assumed that you didn’t have it on, the human body acts much different than the crash test “dummies” they use and the human body is more flexible and will allow arms to follow down the belts for the split second they start to tighten up and cause them to unlatch, the design has been changed a few times over the years but there are many cases where the belts have come unlatched by themselves..

    And by the way, what nerve to you people have to try to capitalize on the death of this person for political reasons, get a life…

  • Bob Collins

    There was absolutely no such attempt to “capitalize” on a young person’s death. Sadly, his death was in the news and a seat belt debate was taking place at the same time. The deaths of people not wearing seatbelts become part of the data. It is a debate of statistics and very, very sadly, he has become a part of them. Very sad, indeed.

    From what I can tell, however, nobody in this thread said this young man would be alive if he had been wearing a seat belt.

    The question that has been consistently asked, however, is why people don’t? Seat belts aren’t a guarantee of survivability; but the data is pretty convincing that it gives you a better shot. What I have asked is why isthis the issue where people draw the line in the sand?

    As to your other point:

    //you would be amazed to know how many of them will come unlatched in an accident anyway

    I probably would. How many?

  • Duke Powell

    In an earlier comment, bsimon asked if this was a budget issue. The answer is yes.

    Those who are critically injured and sustain grave long lasting disabilities invariably end up on Medical Assistance/Medicare. Their numbers are significant and the costs are huge. They remain on our health care programs until the day they die. We add more every year.

    It is also true that those who are already on Medical Assistance have a higher rate of auto accidents. The costs of caring for their injuries frequently come out of the state budget as well.

  • Elizabeth T

    Why do we avoid wearing them?

    Well, I said I hadn’t … I was on the way home from a long party, I was tired beyond belief and I just can’t sleep sitting up. I was the passenger in a ’96 Ford Ranger. Took the belt off, lay down sort-of on the bench seat. God, I just wanted to sleep on the 1 hour trip home.

    Wasn’t doing to much sleeping tripping on adrenalin after the crash…

  • Jason

    bsimon wrote.

    (If people are getting hurt because they’re not wearing seatbelts, the problem that needs to be solved is that people are crashing. Shouldn’t cops be pulling people over for speeding, or driving drunk, or running red lights, rather than becoming seat belt enforcers?)

    I agree, I think to much time is spent on silly stuff when the cops need to consentrate more on stopping the things that really cause the accidents. It’s funny how in my small town the local towing company and the city cops seem to be really tight, some of them even work for the towing company. We even have some of our EMT,s and volunteer firemen work for them and right down the street from their shop is a 4 way stop that I think is invisible because them tow trucks never stop there and sometimes barely slow down so who’s supposed to give them a ticket. I guess we’ll just wait until they hit and kill someone before the isue is addressed, but I wonder who’s fault that will be because these guys are professional drivers right so the law don’t reallyt apply to them.

    The other thing I want to ask is while it appears seatbelts save lives (and yes I wear mine) I would like to know how it can be proved, not just speculation that someone would have lived had they been wearing one. There’s absolutly know way it can be proved any more than second hand smoke kills. If there is I would like someone to show me one case where you can prove 100% that a person would not have died because they had there belt on or they died from second hand smoke. I don’t think people realize that these are speculations not facts.

  • Jason

    bsimon wrote.

    (If people are getting hurt because they’re not wearing seatbelts, the problem that needs to be solved is that people are crashing. Shouldn’t cops be pulling people over for speeding, or driving drunk, or running red lights, rather than becoming seat belt enforcers?)

    I agree, I think to much time is spent on silly stuff when the cops need to consentrate more on stopping the things that really cause the accidents. It’s funny how in my small town the local towing company and the city cops seem to be really tight, some of them even work for the towing company. We even have some of our EMT,s and volunteer firemen work for them and right down the street from their shop is a 4 way stop that I think is invisible because them tow trucks never stop there and sometimes barely slow down so who’s supposed to give them a ticket. I guess we’ll just wait until they hit and kill someone before the isue is addressed, but I wonder who’s fault that will be because these guys are professional drivers right so the law don’t reallyt apply to them.

    The other thing I want to ask is while it appears seatbelts save lives (and yes I wear mine) I would like to know how it can be proved, not just speculation that someone would have lived had they been wearing one. There’s absolutly know way it can be proved any more than second hand smoke kills. If there is I would like someone to show me one case where you can prove 100% that a person would not have died because they had there belt on or they died from second hand smoke. I don’t think people realize that these are speculations not facts.

  • brian

    “I would like someone to show me one case where you can prove 100%”

    You will never get any reputable person to say “100% proven” for something like “if he had been wearing a seatbelt he would have lived”, or second hand smoke, or global warming. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t very likely true.

    There is a big space between “100% proven” and “not a fact.”

  • Lane

    This is a choice issue just like life is! Either you ware it or you don’t, either you live or you don’t are they going to start telling us who lives and who dies? No that is Gods job!!

  • TA

    I know Allen and I’ve seen the vehicle he was driving. There is no way that a seat belt would have had a different impact on his life. The girl who hit Allen ran the stop light and didn’t even slow down. Her car hit his door. I agree with the previous writer. You should NOT use Allen as a subject to your “debate”. Why is everyone stearing away from the “girl that ran the stop sign and hit him”. This stop sign is clearly marked and there are even train tracks with clearly marked arms.

  • BREANNA

    I feel that you crossed the line by using the young mans name just to make a story. Was it absolutely necessary for you to do that. Do you have children? Wouldn’t you be affended if it would have been your child and not someone else. Where is your compassion for the grieving family and friends.

    If you seen the car you would have seen that he was T boned right in the door. How do you know that he wasn’t a dedicated seat belt wearer that maybe one of the statistics where the seat belt failed. NO SEATBELT will save you if it is Gods will to take you home. God is stronger then any seatbelt. And I feel that by you saying that he is just a satistic is really affending and unacceptable. What your article states is nothing but rudeness and needs to be cleared up! By what you are saying shows that by a young man’s life being taken by a 18 year old girl flying through a STOP SIGN shows that all you guys are worried about is a seat belt being worn. what about the girl that flew threw the stop sign? If she would have stopped ALLEN KELLING would still be here this very day! You tell me statistics on people running stop signs and taking innocent peoples lives…before you even sit there and make all of us who lost a very important person in our lives hurt and very upset. I feel that this article could have been written, yes, but with out the young mans name in it. This is no where near appropriate or respectfull for the family or friends of allen kelling. PLEASE correct this or get rid of it!

  • Travis

    Man, you are freaking stupid. Allen kelling was a great person, and i don’t think you should talk like this about him. So what if he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Half of you talking crap about him probably don’t wear your seat belts. He is the one who got hit, so shut up.

  • TA

    And another thing…maybe you should be talking about cell phones and texting while driving. With the debate going on about cell phones and texting while driving, has anyone asked the question, “WAS THE 18 YR OLD GIRL TEXTING?” She caused the accident and the traggic death of Allen! Allen didn’t hurt anyone (even if he wan’t wearing a seat belt)! You need to check out your facts. I’m sure you don’t understand how much a life taken affects such a small town. It generally doesn’t affect a big town or big city like it does in a smaller town. I believe that you owe an apology to the family for even putting this story out there and take it off the news, radio, internet, etc. Find a story that actually fits this debate!

  • Bob Collins

    Again, just to be clear here. The post wasn’t about whether the young man in question would or would not have survived if he’d been wearing a seat belt. The post was about why people don’t?

    No other state in the nation has the higher percentage of teenage deaths on the roads than Minnesota. It is an acceptable statistic for many. The texting issue IS a good one and is another thing that is also against the law (as is not wearing a seat belt). I wrote a few weeks ago about the debate whenever driving and young people legislation comes up at the Capitol. (The latest was about the very young teen killed in Alexandria).

    It’s interesting to me when I watch those debates that the issues of minimizing the risk of injury — and sparing others the pain of a loved one’s death — often become secondary (to some of the legislators) to issues of convenience or the free exercise of a perceived right.

    That’s one of the reasons I asked the original questions.

  • Meghan R.

    If all you wanted to know is why or why not people wear their seatbelts, then why in God’s name would you use an accident as an example? Not to mention an accident where the person who are bringing into this isn’t even hear to debate for himself. How selfish can you be? You obviously have never lost somebody that you care about. Are you heartless? Must be because you are not taking into consideration how this is affecting the family and friends of Allen. I am asking that this be removed from the internet or I will take furter action. This is ubsured. You are extremely selfish.

  • Jason

    There is a big space between “100% proven” and “not a fact.”

    How can something be a fact if it’s not 100% proven? Maybe you could you take a trip to Webster to help clear up your definition.

  • NOYB

    even if allen was wearing is seatbelt it wouldent of matter he was hit on the driver side door and the lady was going 50 so this is dumb

  • Bob Collins

    Again, as near as I can tell, nobody has made a claim that this young man would be alive today if he were wearing his seatbelt. What we have discussed is why people don’t wear them in the face of evidence that it it does reduce the risk of death. Can it eliminate the risk? Of course not.

    We don’t know, obviously, before an accident whether it’s survivable with a seatbelt or not. So, again, the question is about why people make this particular decision?

  • Jason

    Again Bob why did you put this on here as the eye catcher for people to read your post. If you wanted to discuss the issue of why then you should’ve left it at that not put a dead mans name on the front page to catch peoples attention. Why does almost everyone on here think you’re a hearltless jerk? Are we all wrong and you’re the only one that’s right?

    Pull your head out pal how would you like it if someone used one of your loved ones as an example for something that has no significance to the point your trying to make.

  • Bob Collins

    Jason, I’m sorry for your loss; I truly am. The answer to your question is in several locations upthread.

  • Meghan R.

    Bob,

    All you can come up with is an I’m sorry and the answer is above? You are a COWARD!!!

  • Bob Collins

    I’m sorry you feel that way, Meghan. I’m just pointing out that I’ve answered the question that’s been posed five or six times already.

    The young man has not been attacked here. He was another young person in this state who died in an accident that does not appear to be the result of anything he did, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, in a state in which more young people die than any other state in the nation.

    The headline on the original link noted that the young man was not wearing a seat belt and given the insistence here that it wouldn’t have saved him, I will assume that fact is not in dispute. Nobody claimed, as far I know, that he’d be alive today if he were wearing a seat belt.

    The post is about why people — including young people — don’t wear their seat belt and the statistics that are used in the debate, don’t much care whether it would or wouldn’t have saved an individuals’ life, only that X number of people died in this state while not wearing one.

    When people make that decision — and the relevance of this young man to the discussion is that he did make that decision — they don’t know they’re going to get into an accident; they don’t know that a seat belt won’t make a difference; they don’t know that they are or aren’t going to be at fault.

    I’m asking what they do know? And what data do they depend on in making that decision? If it’s merely a protest against perceived government intrusion, I have to ask: is that really worth it? I often hear claims that it’s their personal choice as if they are the only ones affected by their deaths. Unfortunately, it’s obviously a pain that is not limited.

    It is a terrible tragedy, of course, that this young man ‘s death was in the news. But it was, as the original link pointed out.

    Two people in the car were wearing seatbelts and they lived. This young man died. It’s entirely plausible that a t-bone accident was such that a seat belt wouldn’t have saved his life. It’s also entirely plausible that in a t-bone accident, they did save the lives of two passengers. and they are in this news story, too.

    I don’t expect that my answer is going to give you any comfort Meghan. I obviously hoped — or perhaps it wasn’t obvious — that the discussion in general might lead some other person, however, to think about the decisions we make as individuals with catastrophic results to those who are left behind.

    As I said in the original post, these deaths are chronicled day after day after day. The latest is Jacob W. Jaeckels, 21, who was ejected from the 2002 Jeep Liberty he was driving on I-94 in Monticello on Thursday morning. He was alone in the SUV and was not wearing a seat belt, the State Patrol said.

    It still leads me to the same question: Why not?

    On the St. Cloud Times Web site, a family friend reacted this way:

    Yes. A young 21 yr old, bright & talented son, brother, grandchild, nephew, friend, co-worker and neighbor died yesterday morning on his way to work/internship in a very unexpected, tragic way. As a mother & father of four children between the ages of 19 – 23, our care and concern for what Jake’s family is going through is truly heartbreaking and inconceivable. We will hug & kiss our children a little tighter and tell them one more time today and everyday we can remember to “be careful and to wear your seatbelts because we love you.” I hope everyone who hears of this tragedy shares the news with others so that this family feels the love and support of a caring, connected community. “Don’t stop playing your guitar Jake! Spread your music.”

    Again, a young man made a decision, only in this case, a seat belt might have saved his life. But, also again, he didn’t know he’d have an accident and he didn’t know what type of accident he’d have if he did have one. Does that mean he deserved to die? Of course not.

    He must’ve considered something when making that decision just as other people around this state are driving around today having made the same decision.

    It’s not to late for them — or the people who love them — to talk about it and think about what data they use in making that decision, including the question of whether it’s worth it?

    People have asked me whether I’ve lost a family member or close friend to a traffic accident etc. The reason I’m not going to answer that question isn’t to prove whether I have or have not, therefore making my post more legitimate. It’s because if I did, it would appear that I’m trying to minimize your pain, Meghan, and that of your family. And I can’t think of anything more wretched than that.

  • Jason

    Bob, the only thing I can make out of your rambling is you’re an idiot. All you’ve done is ramble on about how you already answered the question above and you’ve done nothing to explain how the headline of this story has any relavance to your point.

    I think I speak for most people who have read this when I say you’re a complete MORON.

  • Bob Collins

    Thanks for your comment, Jason. I appreciate your taking the time to provide your input here.