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Some Utah Legislators Want Everyone Under 21 Years of Age To Wear a Helmet

freedom of choice pending legislation

In a move some critics are calling "legislative creep,"  Utah Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R- sponsored a bill that would expand the mandatory helmet law for bicycles and motorcyclists to everyone under the age of 21.  

"We know that 18- to 20-year-olds are, in fact, a little more impulsive," said Shiozawa, an emergency room doctor.  "We also know that after using a helmet, most likely people will use it for a lifetime, or at least be able to make intelligent decisions."

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said he has a consistently conservative voting record, which might suggest he would oppose mandating that Utahns wear helmets.

But he said the bill presents a conservative solution to health care costs, which currently transfer the burden onto taxpayers for an individual's decisions to ride a motorcycle without protective headgear.

"We are all paying for other people's decisions to be stupid," Stephenson said. "We have to realize that a conservative value means we're not going to shift costs to other people."

Other lawmakers questioned the value of restricting personal freedoms. Sen. Alan Christensen, R-North Ogden, described the bill as "legislative creep," and Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, suggested the line between age 20 and age 21 is unenforceable without other traffic violations.

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