I’ve commented on the current seatbelt law on both Doug Masson’s Blog, and on Taking Down Words, but since I keep doing that, I should probably talk about here on my own site, too. Both of those sites have been in favor of closing Indiana’s truck seat belt law, and both of them have been pretty dismissive (and somewhat contemptuous) of the fact that there’s an exception in the first place.
There is actually logic behind Indiana’s truck exception in the seatbelt law. The reason trucks are excluded is because people who use them for certain types of jobs (on both the farms and in construction projects in town) need to get in and out of the truck often while driving very short distances between stops. Buckling and undoing the seat belt every thirty seconds or so to hop out is really impractical for these types of jobs. Generally, they’re not going fast enough to get in an accident or even get hurt in the event of one. Perhaps there should be a way to exclude trucks that are actual in work mode from being required to use the seatbelt, rather than all trucks.
I’d also say that you need to provide some compelling statistics about the number of trucks on the road that have been in accidents without seatbelts and the amount your insurance has gone up because of them before someone should be making the case for changing the law.
Both Masson and Taking Down Words tried to cite “public emergency expenses” as a reason in favor of the law. But in the event of an accident, you’re paying the same amount for the police to come and rescue someone whether they wear their seatbelt or not, so that’s not a factor you can cite.
Full Disclosure: I come down reluctantly in favor of seat belt laws. I know that wearing one is safer and lowers the risk of injury. However, since my heart surgery, the seat belt drives me absolutely stark raving mad every time I drive because it hurts. So there are times I don’t wear it, and I get away with it because I drive a pick-up. I kinda like taking advantage of the exception. But at least I know the reason why the exception exists, although no one else seems to.
2012 Update: the seat belt law was amended to remove the pick-up truck loophole, but still allows exceptions for farm vehicles and mail carriers.