A Well-Regulated Car

I had a good friend send me a Facebook post intended to show the absurdity of stronger gun regulation. “Cars kill thousands of Americans every year! Let’s ban cars!”

While there are actually some good arguments for fewer cars and more bikes, it’s clear that the public is not going to give up the wheels, and gun owners are not going to give up their guns.

But the comparison between cars and guns is worth considering, because it doesn’t favor lax and ineffective gun laws. The same people who drive responsibly also pay to pave the roads, also pay for the death and disability caused by bad drivers. They deserve protection from careless and incompetent drivers.

Throwing bad drivers in jail is not the only answer, there’s also a collective responsibility accepted by people who drive. We have to have insurance.

Today I renewed my car registration, and on the back of the form were these words–

Because of concern over the rising toll of motor vehicle accidents and the suffering and loss thereby inflicted, the legislature determined that it is a matter of grave concern that motorists shall be financially able to respond to damages for their negligent acts so that innocent victims of motor vehicle accidents may be recompensated for the injury and financial loss inflicted upon them.

I’ve encountered some people whose life was changed from health to total dependence and pain by car accidents– suffering and loss indeed. All money can do is to take a little of the burden off the families and the public. The risk pool comprises all those who create the risk.

I remember when insurance was an individual choice. You had the option of driving carefully and trusting your luck. It took getting used to mandatory insurance, and it’s expensive.

But someone has to pay. In the old days, if someone hurt your car or yourself, and they didn’t have insurance, you’d have to find a lawyer.

It’s not as if car theft went away, or as if no one ignores the insurance mandate, but drivers have better odds of being compensated and there’s less drain on hospital charity.

Gun injuries can be as devastating as auto accidents. Paralysis, brain damage, chronic pain– these cause awful suffering and are also very expensive. When a working person is left dependent the costs don’t end.

Just as responsible car owners do the right thing, responsible gun owners need to recognize that their choices are paid for by all of us, and they need to do their share.

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