If youve listened to the radio at all this month, youve probably heard that Click It or Ticket spot from the Washington State Patrol. The ad touts the states mandatory seat belt law, as part of the aforementioned Click It or Ticket campaign to get more people to buckle up.
In the ad, a state patrol trooper asks the various people hes pulled over why they are not wearing their seat belts. None of the busted motorists will be confused for Mensa members, as they offer a litany of mostly lame excuses for driving sans seat belt.
One woman, however, correctly asks the trooper if there are any bank robbers he should be pursuing instead of spending his time hassling her for not wearing her seat belt.
The ad concludes with an annoyingly paternalistic voiceover asking, Whats your excuse?
Just once, Id like the commercial to go like this:
Trooper: Sir, can I ask you why youre not wearing your seat belt?
Motorist: I said you could ask me why Im not wearing my seat belt. You havent asked yet.
Trooper: Right…Why arent you wearing your seat belt?
Motorist: Because Im an adult living in a free country, and as such I should be able to decide for myself whether or not I want to wear a seat belt when I am operating my motor vehicle. I dont believe I should be subjected to an $86 ticket for choosing not to wear my seat belt. I know wearing my seat belt is a good idea, but Im not hurting anybody else, so what business is it of the states? Oh sure, some may argue the increased medical costs of treating someone involved in a crash who wasnt wearing a seat belt are passed on to the rest of society, but those who dont wear seat belts already pay higher premiums for insurance, and besides, that reasoning could be used to let the government regulate every facet of our lives. Lawmakers assured us when a mandatory seat belt law was passed in 1986 as a secondary offense, that it would never become a primary offense. Never apparently meant June 2002. You know what they say: No ones life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
Trooper: Im going to let you off with a warning this time, sir. I have to go catch some bank robbers.
My Two Cents is a weekly column where the author – who has worn his seat belt since he started driving – gets in his two cents worth in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts.