News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2007


N.J. governor sets bad example on safety belts

New Jersey requires front-seat passengers to wear safety belts, but its governor, Jon S. Corzine, apparently was not wearing one when a wreck critically injured him Thursday.

Mr. Corzine was sitting to the right of a state trooper, his driver, in a sport utility vehicle traveling the Garden State Parkway. Someone asked the governor’s chief of staff, Tom Shea, why the trooper would not have asked Mr. Corzine to buckle up. The governor is “not always amenable to suggestion,” Mr. Shea replied.

Gov. Corzine broke a leg, his breastbone, 12 ribs and a vertebra. He probably will not be able to work for weeks, requiring the state Senate president to serve as acting governor. You have to think much of this could have been avoided.

Gov. Corzine evidently is like a lot of people: They don’t think they will be hurt in a wreck, and they scoff at safety-belt laws, saying the state is meddling in personal business. Those attitudes are arrogant and selfish, because when they get hurt, other people will be harmed.

We hope Gov. Corzine gets well fast and uses this opportunity to tell others that he was wrong — that not wearing safety belts is a mistake, and they should obey the law.

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