First Offender : Tragic Tale

Today I was summoned to court for the very first time in my law-abiding life for the world's favourite most common traffic offence - not wearing a seatbelt. Since law school, I have squirmed at the notion of paternalistic laws, or laws that keep you from harming yourself. Anti-drug laws are paternalistic. So are laws preventing you from swimming at a dangerous lake. So are laws demanding you to contribute to EPF or pension system.  So are laws forcing you to wear a helmet or a seatbelt.You harm no one if you don't do it, only yourselves. I have only one issue against paternalism, that is, when do you draw the line exactly?  If a person really prefers safety to convenience then it is legitimate to force him to wear seatbelt. But if he knows well the risk of not wearing a seatbelt (I would think 100% lawful drivers do) and he insists on not wearing, then why the fuss? What's next? Laws that compel couples to save their marriages, laws that force you to embrace at least one religion? Where's the line? And who draws it? 

I pleaded guilty and mitigated some along the lines of 'Im a poor chambering pupil who cannot afford to pay the compound so I'm here. Im a first offender I will not repeat my carelessness... etc' and the court slapped pinched me with a RM80 fine. There goes the new arrival Topman shirt that  I'm eyeing for months. That's tragic. 

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