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Wreck on the highway

When I saw the footage of New Jersey Governor John Corzine's wrecked SUV, and heard about his injuries, I have to admit that my first thought was "it sounds like he wasn't wearing a seat belt."

The vehicle was mostly intact, and it was a big SUV -- the kind that's supposed to stand up well to crashes. Nonetheless, Corzine suffered a broken sternum, collarbone, broke six ribs on each side, cracked a vertebra, and busted a thigh bone in two places.

Because I happen to have a certain twist of mind, I went and looked up New Jersey's seat belt law. It requires children to be restrained, as well as adults riding in the front seat, but excludes those in the back. Further, the story says that Corzine "does not usually wear a seat belt." Also, witnesses say that Corzine's legs were hanging out the front passenger window after the crash.

So, that brings up the question: was Corzine riding in the front seat at the time, unbelted? Alongside a state trooper driver, who should have insisted that the governor buckle up in accordance to the law? Will the trooper be cited?

I don't like seat belt laws, but I don't believe in simply ignoring laws you don't like. I suspect that when Corzine resumes office, he'll probably become an advocate for seat belt usage and laws. And with good reason.

But the point is simple: the vehicle had the belts. There were laws on the books already that, in all likelihood, covered the situation. (It is possible that Corzine was riding in back and was thrown over the front seat so he ended up with his legs hanging out the window, but that seems very unlikely to me.) And there was a cop literally right next to him who should have enforced the law.

No one, especially a politician as intelligent as Corzine, has any right pleading ignorance about the value of seat belts. I've believed for most of my life that anyone who gets into a vehicle and doesn't buckle up is an idiot, and has little grounds for complaint if they get injured or killed as a consequence.

But I've never believed that it is the government's place to protect people from their own idiocy. Unless you're putting others at direct risk, the government should do no more than urge you to do the right, sensible, safe thing -- but the final decision must be the individual's. Those of us who are adults deserve the right to make our own choices about our own selves -- and accept the consequences of those choices.

Corzine, it appears, chose to accept the risks in not wearing a seat belt. It looks like he had taken that risk for years -- but the odds finally caught up with him.

I'm glad he's expected to survive, and hope this will teach him -- and others -- how important seat belts are. But I also hope he doesn't become a rallying cry for tougher seat belt laws.


Comments (25)

I thought exactly the same ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

I thought exactly the same thing, especially when learning that no one else was really hurt. Being rich and named Corzine doesn't indemnify one from the laws of physics, I guess.

He'll no doubt do a PSA on seatbelts and everyone will speak of what a great guy Corzine is. The driver is the one who ought to do the PSA, and he should assert that Corzine was a fool.

But I also hope he doesn... (Below threshold)
sanssoucy:

But I also hope he doesn't become a rallying cry for tougher seat belt laws.

I hope he becomes a rallying cry for governors just not paying the slightest bit of attention to PC horseshit like the "hos" nonsense. Maybe next time he'll just keep his nose out of things that should be utterly irrelevant to anything a governor was elected to do.

SS

While I agree in pricipal t... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

While I agree in pricipal that it is not the role of government to protect people from their own idiocy, in the case of seat belt laws, those who choose to ignore the laws (like Gov. Corzine apparently did) do cause harm to others.

The harm is that they are much more likely to have very expensive injuries (like the Gov. did) and we ALL end up paying for them.

As harsh as it may sound, i... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

As harsh as it may sound, if he wasn't wearing his seatbelt, he gets exactly ZERO simpathy from me (as is true of all people who survive but weren't wearing them).

There was a lead story in the local news recently (Omaha) where a man survived a terrible crash and was saved because he had his cell phone (yeah, it was a slow news day). He looked all banged up, bruised, bandaged and had broken bones.

Boo fricken hoo. He wasn't wearing a seat belt. Thank god he was LUCKY and survived (I'm not sadistic). But he deserves every bit of pain from that decision he made.

Yep, no seatbelt. Have a fr... (Below threshold)
bill:

Yep, no seatbelt. Have a friend who had the same type injuries, no seatbelt. Years to recover ... now wears seatbelt.

P. Bunyan NAILED it!! I am... (Below threshold)
moseby:

P. Bunyan NAILED it!! I am not a fan of Govt butting in but if it helps lower our premiums/taxes/etc. (oh and save a few lives) I am all for it.

Yes, a few years ago I was ... (Below threshold)
Elisabeth:

Yes, a few years ago I was in the same situation. Not wearing seatbelt and I broke both arms, my femur (in a few places), neck, ribs, pelvis--nothing that I couldn't recover from though. He won't be walking anytime soon. FYI, I always wear my seatbelt now...trying to recover from those type of injuries is NOT fun. After going through that I realize why so many older people die from broken hips, it's too much work to rehabilitate yourself.

While I agree that it is ve... (Below threshold)
Matthew:

While I agree that it is very smart to wear a seatbelt, I don't agree that we should be tying the question to Corzine right now. The man was just in a serious accident and we don't know one way or another whether he was wearing a seatbelt or not. It is unbecoming to sit here and speculate whether he was wearing a seatbelt and then make judgments on Corzine for not wearing a seatbelt. Without the facts, we shouldn't make preconceived judgments about Corzine.

Now, about his politics...judge away.

CNN is now reporting that h... (Below threshold)

CNN is now reporting that he in fact was NOT wearing a seatbelt.

Well the Governors Spokespe... (Below threshold)
Buddy:

Well the Governors Spokesperson says says it doesn't appear that the governor was wearing a seatbelt. I don't think it's speculation, and if he was half hanging out of the car, it's fairly obvious he WASN'T properly restrained.

His mouthpiece says it appe... (Below threshold)
wright:

His mouthpiece says it appears he wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Looks like more of the "do as I say, not as I do" 'leadership' that we have come to expect from our betters; Gore, Edwards, et al. One set of rules for thee, another set for me.
I have zero sympathy.

Looks like the Big Ass SUV ... (Below threshold)
mnu:

Looks like the Big Ass SUV saved the Governors life, that and the security detail following with first aid and comms to medevac.

A person in a small to mid sized car might not of lived through that kind of accident with or without a seatbelt.

In a major accident vehicle weight and lots of steel around you still accounts for a lot. Maybe the state should of upgraded the SUV with a 5 point harness.

This is a major injury. The... (Below threshold)
baslimthecripple:

This is a major injury. The ribs and sternal fracture imply a cardiac contusion as well as flail chest and some degree of pulmonary contusion as well. He will be on the ventilator for quite some time due to the latter, is at risk for fat embolism and adult respiratory distress syndrome (even without the direct injuries to the chest) and is not a young man. Prayers are never amiss. I do wonder what (if any) injuries his state trooper driver sustained. And the red truck cut them off and caused the accident??? That sounds more than a little lame to me.

"CNN is now reporting that ... (Below threshold)
914:

"CNN is now reporting that He was not wearing His seatbelt"
Damn! arrest Him for terroristic driving!

Yep, another prominent assh... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Yep, another prominent asshat that thinks the laws that apply to the peons don't apply to him only to discover that the Laws of Physic's are inescapeable. "A body in motion tends to remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force."

Absolutley no sympathy from me and if anything he needs to get a citation for breaking the law.

Shame he had to learn the h... (Below threshold)

Shame he had to learn the hard way. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, well ... maybe just a couple people....

1. How fast was the motorca... (Below threshold)
Questions:

1. How fast was the motorcade going?

2. Why no rolling road block?

3. Why no seatbelt?

4. What red pickup?

5. Why have the cops chosen the most popular vehicule on the road to point the finger at?

6. Can anyone else see through this State Police smoke screen?

7. First the two young ladies and now the Governor. When will the NJ State Troopers be held responsible for their wreckless driving?

Poor guy.. ouch! Hope He re... (Below threshold)
914:

Poor guy.. ouch! Hope He recovers quickly..

Seems like everyone's getti... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Seems like everyone's getting cancer or something else bad nowadays. I hope Jon gets all better. If anything good comes of this, maybe it will alert people to be more careful about using seatbelts...

In my opinion, it is entire... (Below threshold)
Joe:

In my opinion, it is entirely possible that the Goveronor was not "hypocritically" violating the seat belt law by riding unbelted in the front seat. He sustained some pretty severe chest injuries, but no significant head injuries. That is consistant with what I would expect to happen to a back-seat passenger.

Had he been unbelted in the front seat, he probably would have been ejected head-first through the windshield (and killed). Instead, he was launched chest-first into the back of the front bench-seat. The impact would have vaulted him head-over-heels into the front seat where he landed on his back with his feet protruding out the passenger side-window.

I cannot imagine a front-seat passenger getting his feet out the window without a roll-over type collision.

That Corzine would ignore l... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

That Corzine would ignore laws on a whim, would not shock me. It is who he is.

I hope he comes out OK, and wish his recovery goes quickly and without complication.

Unless you're p... (Below threshold)
Unless you're putting others at direct risk, the government should do no more than urge you to do the right, sensible, safe thing -

With all due respect, riding unbuckled does put others at risk

Follow the Link: (but I don... (Below threshold)
Bill M:

Follow the Link: (but I don't know how to do the linky things....hope it worked)

http://blog.nj.com/ledgerupdates/2007/04/corzine_remains_in_icu_faces_l.html

Anyway, here's one of the paragraphs:

Corzine was sitting in the front passenger seat of the black Chevy Tahoe, alongside his driver, Trooper Robert Rasinski, according to New Jersey State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes. In the back sat Samantha Gordon, an aide who typically accompanies Corzine when he travels beyond the Statehouse.

It is a case of do what I say, not what I do. The man is lucky to be alive. I hope he recovers fully, but he has a loooong road to that recovery.

Typical of all the two-face... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

Typical of all the two-faced slithering snakes who regularly post on this smelly site. I just got done (shit, I think yesterday) posting on a thread decrying the proposed seat belt law in , I think, NH. How dare Corzine not be wearing a seatbelt! Somehow that differs from the assclowns on this site "exercising their freedoms" by not wearing theirs. Go die.

Ryan, you really should int... (Below threshold)

Ryan, you really should introduce yourself to a concept known as "personal responsibility" ... see also, "setting good example"

It would make for a very rich learning experience. We can deal with your potty mouth later.




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