Editorial

Federal incentives make tighter seatbelt laws more attractive

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

And so it goes ...

Nebraskans like to think of themselves as independent, but the seatbelt situation is just one small illustration of how federal tendrils entwine themselves in state and local government.

How so?

As it stands now, drivers can be ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt, but only after they are stopped for some other reason, say speeding, failure to signal a turn or missing a stop sign.

But wearing seatbelts save lives, statistics show, and the federal government would like more of us to wear them.

As a result, it is offering more federal funding to states that pass laws making not wearing a seatbelt a "primary offense," allowing officers to stop drivers they can tell are not wearing seatbelts, and for no other reason.

Kansas did just that last year, and was rewarded to the tune of $11.2 million in federal funding.

Nebraska, facing a budget shortfall of three-quarter of a billion dollars, would get $7.8 million for doing the same. All but $1 million of that would have to be used for safety engineering, construction or a combination of both. While that does sound restrictive, it would free up funding to be used in other ways.

Last year, a bill to make not wearing a seat belt a primary offense was killed in committee. Is $7.8 million against a $750 million shortfall enough to tempt the Legislature to give in that much more to the federal government?

Only time will tell.

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  • One percent is not very much, to sell the State into more control by the Federal side of our Government. Angry, does not express my feelings about this temptation. Senator Ben got more than that, and we almost lynched him. Perhaps if the State tacked the Death penalty, the Feds would spring for the whole $750-Million?

    Gross State behavior, deserves Gross commentary.

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 4:12 PM
  • On our way to the Federal Union of North America. Controlled entirely by the money and greed of 3% of the American population. Yes, cant wait! A few years back I was scolded by my father in law by saying I believed we would begin seeing states pull out of the Union due to the overwhelming attempts by the "American Government" controlbot. Doesn't seem so far off in my opinion.

    -- Posted by cplcac on Fri, Aug 20, 2010, at 4:26 AM
  • Common sense need not be governed...it needs to be taught long before they are driving.

    -- Posted by cplcac on Sat, Aug 21, 2010, at 2:21 AM
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