Monday, May 28, 2007

Governor Corzine: Dead Wrong


"I lost over half my blood, broke 15 bones in 18 places. I spent 8 days in Intensive Care where a ventilator was breathing for me. It took a remarkable team of doctors and a series of miracles to save my life when all I needed was a seat belt." NJ Governor Jon Corzine

Now that his much awaited Public Service Announcement is airing Memorial Day weekend to remind us to wear seat belts, Jon Corzine's approval ratings are improving.

But I'm betting the number of traffic deaths of those not wearing seat belts won't go down by even one.

Why not? Well, there's Corzine's lack of credibility. And then there's the cost--besides potentially your life--if you're caught not wearing a seat belt in New Jersey: $46. You have to wonder who came up with such an idiotically small amount.

Speaking of idiotic, it's interesting to point out where Governor Corzine was going on April 12 when his SUV lost control on the Garden State Parkway at 91 mph. Heading for the New Jersey Governor's mansion to moderate a meeting between Don Imus and the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

How's that for irony. A car crash on the way to a train wreck.

Even without Corzine's political savvy, the Rutgers players and their dignified coach managed to find a way to forgive good ole boy Imus for his crass, racially offensive remarks.

But no matter how big a news story the Imus fiasco was, it doesn't hold a candle to New Jersey's chief executive arrogantly flouting his own state's law and almost paying with his life.

Why? Because actions speak louder than words.

Imus spewed bigotry and ignorance on the radio. He got spanked, lost his job, already has a new one. The college players will move on, their young lives have too much promise for one old white fart's dumb comments to stop them. The words will fade. As bad as the incident was, no lives were lost.

Corzine, on the other hand, broke the law. Flagrantly. Not wearing a seatbelt is the lesser crime. His State Trooper driver was speeding. Corzine not only ignored his own safety. Most inexcusably, he put innocent citizens at risk by his own and his driver's irresponsibility, dangerous actions and ultimately, the crash.

Like most people, he assumed that accidents happen to other guys. Way to set a leadership example, Governor.

Especially to young drivers who crave speed and think they're immortal anyway. Picture them saying to each other, "Dude, did you see his car? That Statie was doin 90-plus. They stop me now, I'm gonna ask how come you can do it and we can't?"

They will not remember Corzine's injuries, hospital stay, health crises or ongoing disabilities. Only that State troopers can drive as fast as they want.

Teenagers notoriously don't wear seat belts. Story after horrendous story describe teens killed when flung unrestrained onto roadways or into trees during car accidents. It chills the blood.

And according to New Jersey's Division of Highway Traffic Safety, last year over half the people killed in car crashes weren't wearing seat belts.

At the end of his Memorial Day PSA, Corzine says, "I have to live with my mistake. You don't. Buckle up."

Oh please. Give me a break. If Governor Corzine really wants his accident to be an object lesson --not just an image re builder-- he should do something more substantive. He should go to the New Jersey legislature and demand far stiffer penalties as a deterrent for not wearing seat belts.

Get caught speeding, the fine is over $200. Speeding tickets aren't costly enough either, but at least there's a point system that could result in losing your drivers license. It should be applied to non seat belt wearers too.

Better to lose your license than to lose your life.

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