Proposed Change in Seat Belt Law Hurts Tennessee Accident Victims

Proposed Change in Seat Belt Law Hurts Tennessee Accident Victims

A proposed bill in the Tennessee Legislature would change a decades-old law that was designed to protect accident victims and protect the taxpayors.


Since 1986, the law made it inadmissible in court whether an injured person was wearing his seat belt.  This legal rule makes perfect sense if you stop and think about it for a minute.  Indeed, if a negligent driver causes an accident – let’s say, for example, because he was texting while driving, or perhaps because he was drunk – should he somehow bear LESS responsibility for his actions because the innocent person he crashes into wasn’t wearing a seat belt?


Of course not.


If this proposed bill becomes law – and it certainly looks to be headed that way – a person who is at fault in the accident would be able to blame the victim by essentially suggesting that if you’re not wearing your seat belt, then somehow you deserve your injuries.


Which is ludicrous.  Whatever happened to notions of personal responsibility?


The bill in Nashville is nothing more than a reward for the powerful auto insurance lobby in Nashville.  Indeed, regular taxpayers and citizens receive absolutely no benefit from adding legal protections for negligent drivers.  The only benefit is reducing the amount of money that auto insurance companies are required to pay for things like medical bills, lost wages, disability and bodily impairment, when one of the insurance companies’ drivers causes a wreck.


Of course, there are other more dangerous and costly effects of this bill as well.  Remember, medical expenses and disability payments don’t just magically disappear because the legislature decided to let the auto insurance company off the hook.  Indeed, SOMEBODY still pays.


And guess who that is?


That’s right. You.


Your health insurance company will have to pick up the tab.  And guess what health insurance companies have to do when their costs go up?  That’s right – raise your premiums.  And isn’t health insurance already expensive enough without having to pay accident expenses that should rightly be paid by the person who actually caused the accident?


And what about people who don’t have health insurance?  Do their medical and disability expenses just go away?  Of course not.  TennCare, Medicaid and Medicare step up and take care of the bill – otherwise, known as you, the taxpayer.


The proposed bill is bad law and should be defeated.   Contact your legislators and tell them to vote ‘No’ on the new seat belt law.  Tennesseans deserve better.

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