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Police ride-along

October 9, 2010 - Jennifer Brookens
My Friday night was spent in a police car. (Oh, if my life was really as wild as that sentence might indicate!)

Another seat-belt enforcement campaign is underway, and it kicked off Friday with a police saturation. The good news was there was a high compliance rate (an informal survey done by police the day before measured 84 to 87 percent compliance). But the bad news could be the attitude towards it. The announcement of the seat belt enforcement brought out a lot of the complaints of "It's my right," or "The cops just want a reason to snoop in the car." There are those who argue, "Well, what about motorcyclists? Why not pick on them?" Some people, it seems, just want to find a reason to rage against "the man."

Heaven forbid that police actually just want to see you safe.

One argument that I used to use when I was younger and didn't care about the seat belt was, "Hey it's just me." But the thing is you actually can kill someone else by not wearing your seat belt. If you're not belted in a vehicle with other people, in a crash, your body could become a projectile that knocks around and kills someone else in the car. And even if it is "just you" in the car, unbelted motorists usually end up flying through the windshield and have the vehicle roll over them, tearing their body to pieces. And guess who gets the pleasure of seeing you in that final form? That's right, the police and emergency workers. And for some twisted (no pun intended) people, they may be satisified with that final defiance to "the man," but what if your mother, your spouse or child is in that same wreck, survives, and sees your body torn apart in the most gory fashion... Is that the last memory you really want to leave for your loved ones?

I won't lie... Occasionally the cynics may have something (especially if there IS something to hide). But maybe - just maybe - concerns about safety are sincerely concerns for your safety. You can belt up just to avoid a ticket, you can not buckle up and declare we're moving into a police state. But I know I will buckle up not just for myself, but for those I love and who depend on me.


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