DEAR ABBY: This is in response to the letter from "J.C. in Gainesville" who wondered if he was wrong for ordering his passenger to "buckle up or get out!"
If he was writing from Gainesville, Fla., he should know that buckling up is the law in Florida. He could receive a ticket if he or his passenger does not have on a seat belt.
Recently a father was arrested in Florida when his unbuckled child died in a car accident. It is the driver's responsibility to make sure that everyone in his car is buckled up! J.C. definitely did the right thing. -- M.P. IN FORT LAUDERDALE
DEAR M.P.: Read on for an opposing view:
DEAR ABBY: In regard to your column on Sept. 12, "Buckle Up or Bail Out": The person who didn't want to use a seat belt may have had a serious phobia about it. I wish the do-gooders would use their own seat belts but keep their noses out of other people's lives. There have been cases of UN-belted survivors who would have been killed if they had been belted -- but that information is withheld from the average citizen.
I have done enough investigating on my own around here and have found that when nothing is said about a traffic fatality being belted or not, they were belted. Regarding the state trooper who said, "I have yet to unbuckle a seat belt from a dead person," I have also heard that only medical personnel can remove a body from a car. (Maybe that varies from state to state; I don't know.)
I prevented an accident some years ago while I was a front-seat passenger and the driver fell asleep at the wheel. I couldn't have acted in time had I been belted. If the driver demands the passenger use a seat belt, then the passenger has the right to demand that the driver obey every law and rule, too! It's possible to be belted and dead.
I'd feel a whole lot safer on the road if the seat belt zealots put as much effort into preventing accidents as they do in protecting their great god and savior, the Seat Belt Law!
This letter is not intended to stop anyone from using his belt. I'm not opposed to healthy diets, either. But I don't think anyone would want a law enacted and enforced that would penalize everyone who has gotten overweight or let his blood cholesterol get too high -- even though such a law might save lives. -- H.O. IN SUMNER, IOWA