You may, my dear pirate, find this interesting, as well: Traffic fatalities go up wherever seat belt laws are enacted–as do, by the way, non fatal accidents as well.
It does not mean what we think it means, however. It doesn’t mean that belting somehow kills people. However, The fact remains that a well secured driver is less likely to die when an incident occurs.
However, Bayes’ theorem also predicts this peculiar statistic as well. Because there are FAR more successful, accident free, trips than those resulting in accidents. Therefore, when one changes everyone’s behavior for ALL trips, unpredictable things may–and in this case, do–happen.
Changing one thing always changes another. What has been determined by a more “sciencey” analysis of such data, is, naturally not, that seat belts cause deaths. It is easy to show that being belted in a modern vehicle will generally save ones life, what surfaces is a general shift in the behavior of drivers to drive unsafely, feeling, as naturally they would, that they are safer.
But one is only as safe as ones individual choices makes one. Therefore, no requirement of belting (as exists in some states) means drivers are, on the whole, more careful. What is so ironic about this, is that such laws are aimed not at saving individual lives but a percentage of lives in general, and they do not accomplish this.
The man who belts himself because he chooses to do so, is a very different man from the one who belts himself for fear of being fined. However, in addition to this, Bayes predicts that a very very slight change in the habits of drivers on all trips, has the potential to far outweigh, on average, the effect of such laws and regulations as these on the outcome of the very small number of trips that result in accidents.
And, in this case, we all lose, however the winner, oddly enough, is math!