Should government coerce individuals into wearing seatbelts when they appear not to want to do so? Lawmakers in the 29 states that have enacted mandatory seatbelt laws apparently believe so. Moreover, federal regulations currently provide that automakers must install automatic seatbelts or airbags by September, 1989. Opponents of these enactments have argued that "[p]ersons should be allowed to engage in any activity that does not harm others, even if it involves the risk of great harm to themselves, [and that a] person's refusal to wear a seatbelt does not harm others and should not be punished." This Article argues that both perspectives are flawed. Rather than relying upon a complete mandatory scheme or complete laissez faire, government should use market incentives to reduce the excessively high costs of auto accidents, while enabling consumers to make informed decisions about the nature of the protection they wish to use when riding in automobiles.
John J. Donohue III,
Using Market Incentives to Promote Auto Occupant Safety,
Yale L. & Pol'y Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylpr/vol7/iss2/7