Seat belt, restraint laws are vital

Published 9:12 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

There was a tragedy Wednesday; a tragedy one local family may never be able to rebound from. The news of 5-year-old Shania Menoza-Meza’s death was horrific, and today we offer our prayers for her and her family as they grieve.

While the accident remains under investigation by the Alabama State Troopers, the details that have been made public offer a tragic picture.

In the midst of the accident, which involved the 2003 Tahoe hitting an embankment, Shania was ejected from the car through the driver side passenger window.

As we offer our prayers and condolences to the family, we also offer our strong encouragement to parents and family members to learn from this tragedy and ensure that every child is placed properly in a child restraint or seat belt.

Regardless of whether it is the law, it is the right thing to do and the safe thing to do.

Many will say that child restraint laws and seat belt laws are invasions of privacy and another way for the government to impede in our private lives.

But, it is this kind of tragedy that brings clarity to a law and offers vindication to the reasons for such a law.

Even today, trucks can be seen on highways with children and adults riding in the bed. What happens to these unrestrained passengers in the event of an accident? Are they safer being in the back of a truck? Absolutely not.

The same can be said for seat belts and child restraints.

There are laws on the books that many would say are useless, but the laws governing seat belts and child restraints are vital to everyone’s safety.

Far too many cases remain of children not being restrained, and far too many tickets have been written for no seatbelts being worn.

With as much evidence to the contrary, and with as many stories of tragedies, such as today’s story, how can anyone not heed the law and learn from experience?

Seat belts and child restraints save lives. Period.