Some things said and done in the South Dakota Legislature indicate huge problems with logic and sanity.
In the past weeks we have heard legislators berating the Governor's plan to slash funding for the SD Highway Patrol. It makes them seem like they are being seen as "tough on law and order". So, legislators are braying about getting full funding into the SD Highway Patrol.
Meanwhile, legislators short of money for highway safety and the patrol, have an option to institute a primary infraction law for failure of drivers on state highways to wear seat belts. The rabid legislator from Rapid City is convinced that such a law will be abused by the same Highway Patrol that is so beloved it needs all the money and not funding missing a couple million. As part of the feds deal with SD, there might be as much as $5 million coming to South Dakota for putting in such a law.
Now, it would seem that $5 million might be useful in the current funding situation. Napoli was apparently bragging that opposition from the wild and crazy people of South Dakota prevented a seat belt law of any kind for many years. That may be true. Not having a seat belt law was a terrible waste of humans in the interests of Homer Harding and Ford family maintaining the illusion that cars were safe. Once Ford Co. decided that seat belts would be better than air bags, the corporation shifted to support of mandatory seat belt laws and miracle of miracles all those pseudo-constitutional problems and phony data disappeared nearly overnight and SD got the present secondary form of a seat belt law.
The equivalent of several small South Dakota towns died needlessly because of the dementia and gross irresponsibility that pervaded the legislature in those 10 or more years of mindless diddling. There is no highway safety measure with as much positive cost benefits as provided by mandatory seat belt laws. Building four-lane highways safer than two lanes to provide the same benefit years ago would have required converting perhaps 3,000 miles of two-lane to four lane highways to have the same reduction in highway fatalities as a nearly cost free seat belt law.
Pushing seat belt use from 60% or so to nearly 100% would provide significant benefit to South Dakota and South Dakotans. Such high use proven should also be the basis for mandated reduction of vehicle-related medical insurance costs. A new category of offense should be defined for seat-belt law violations that has a nearly automatic fine collection system for a minimum fine..something like $10 to start with. Simply mailed into a fund for traffic safety instruction and public information rather than put into particular counties for general education.
In the meantime it appears that each legislator is willing to piss away an easy $34,000 to pacify and satisfy nuts like Napoli of Rapid City.
In the legislature lunacy and dementia are contagious diseases of the public mind.
**Stay tuned and buckle your seatbelts whether or not there is a law. Stay alive to read Dakota Today--- Doug Wiken