While driving among many of the highways in New Hampshire such as 101A, 93 and the Everett Turnpike, you likely notice those lighted signs off the side of the road that promote different messages. Sometimes, the signs will tell you about upcoming construction, or tell you if there is an accident. These are clearly good uses for the signs. On other occasions, the signs will give some advice regarding traffic safety such as: if you are drinking don't drive, drive safely, and drugged driving is drunk driving. These signs are more political in nature, but at least they were related to active laws.
Today, I saw a sign that informed me that this week is seatbelt week in New Hampshire. I find this sound outrageous. It is not against the law in New Hampshire to wear seatbelts. I personally do not wear one and that is my choice. We live in the "live free or die" state. I should not have to view these signs by government officials that are clear endorsements of a political issue. (Its bad enough I have to see the sign when I cross the border of another state coming into N.H. that says seatbelts required for those under 18, common sense for all. It is not an issue of common sense, it is a medical decision. My body my choice.)
I occasionally go to the legislature to testify regarding potential bills. I usually testify regarding laws related to DWI. I also testify every-time someone promotes a bill to make it mandatory to wear seatbelts. I believe it is my right to not wear a seatbelt. There shouldn't be laws forcing someone to wear a seatbelt just as there shouldn't be a law saying someone can not wear one. On a personal note, one of the main reasons every State but N.H. has a seatbelt law is because the federal government gets involved and bribes states by withholding funding if they don't pass the law. Putting aside this bribe money, New Hampshire consistently defeats the seatbelt law.
We also do not have a helmet law for motorcycles. Is the next sign going to be helmet week? Where will it end where the government will not be distracting you as you are driving along with potentially offensive political signs? How about a sign no smoking and driving, or don't listen to the radio while driving, or don't put makeup on while driving? These things are all safety issues, but it is presently not against the law to do those things. Whoever is in charge of these signs should not have free reign to promote any personal idea he feels is important.
If this week is seatbelt week, then I would like to see a sign every other week of the year telling drivers it is not seatbelt week and it is entirely their choice to where a seatbelt or not. At some point, it is a first amendment issue when the government promotes certain ideas. For example, the United States Supreme Court has held the State of New Hampshire can not force drivers to have the phrase "live free or die" on their license plate. If you choose to do so, you can cover it without any penalty as the government is involved in forced speech. I believe the seatbelt week sign is a similar unlawful sign as I am forced to view it.