“In the wake of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s recent car accident, much has been made of the governor’s decision not to wear a seat belt.
“One of the governor’s own aides suggested the governor be issued a citation, even as he lay in a hospital bed in critical condition. And a resident of New Jersey filed a formal complaint against Corzine.
“While I’m not personally fond of mandatory seat-belt laws (I don’t think it’s the government’s responsibility to protect us from ourselves), there is certainly some hypocrisy involved in his presiding over a state that requires the use of seat belts while the governor himself refuses to wear one. [. . .]
“Gov. Corzine apologized for his ‘poor example’ in failing to buckle up, but didn’t apologize for the actual cause of the accident — conveying the idea that he, the governor, is too important to obey traffic laws.
“We now know that Corzine and his driver were barreling down a busy highway at more than 90 miles per hour, flashing their lights, shunting commoner motorists to the side of the road. [. . .] It’s fortunate Corzine’s driver didn’t kill someone.
“And what exactly was so important that Corzine had to put the lives and safety of his fellow citizens at risk? He was on his way to a reconciliation meeting between shock jock Don Imus and the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Essentially a photo-op.
“It’s telling that Corzine is contrite for putting his own life at risk, but not for jeopardizing the lives of everyone else on the road.”
Radley Balko, writing on “Politicians’ Hubris Takes to the Open Road,” May 17 in Reason Online at www.reason.com