Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Too much safety; not enough freedom

I'm annoyed at Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. right now. He signed a bill into law that raised the age of children required to ride in carseats to eight. Age eight!! When I emailed the sponsor of the bill, Tim Cosgrove, he sent me these stats:

"• In Utah we lost 34 children just between the ages of 5 and 8, whom died in motor vehicle crashes between 2002 and 2006.

• In Utah we had 2,188 children who were severely injured between the ages of 5 and 8, that were injured in a motor vehicle crash whom were not in a booster seat.

• 39 other states and the District of Columbia already have booster seat laws."

To which I responded:

"1. Regarding the first two stats, it does not mention if any of those children were wearing seatbelts.

2. Of those 39 states, how many go up to age 8? Last I heard, age 6 was the highest of any state in the union.

3. I saw an interview with a car-seat lobbyist last year who said if they had their way, children up to age 12 would be in car-seats. Would you support this?

4. What about car-seats and seatbelts on public school busses?

5. To maximize our safety, we could ban all cars. We don't ban all cars because we've decided the risk is worth the convenience. Where is the line between government-enforced safety and personal responsibility? There's no quick way to answer that, but the line seems to keep moving to make our lawbooks thicker and thicker.

I know we wring our hands to keep our kids safe, but really, where does it end? I remember when the carseat law first passed up to age 3 and I remember grumbling when it was raised to 5. 5 is plenty. And I know what it's like to have a child die."

Mr. Cosgrove never responded.

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