Paul Weigand doesn’t like to be told what to do by authorities. The Wichita man, who claims to have a fear of “being trapped in a burning car”, refuses to wear a seat belt, at least in a conventional manner. To comply with the letter, if not the intent of the law, Weigand fashioned a belt from an old automotive seat belt and buckle. While the device may have been effective at holding his pants up, it offered no protection in the event of a crash. His interpretation of the law was put to the test when he was recently ticketed for failing to wear a seat belt.
In a rare display of common sense, the judge upheld the ticket and fined Weigand $30 plus $96 in court costs. Ironically, the judge agreed that the law fails to specify an “attached” seat belt, but levied the fine for non-compliance with the intent of the law.
There is zero doubt that seat belts prevent injury and save lives, and if Weigand truly does have a fear of being trapped in a burning car I have a simple solution: don’t drive. Take the bus, buy a bicycle or if you really want to live on the edge learn to ride a motorcycle. Irrational fears can be effectively treated with medication, or sometimes just good old fashioned psychoanalysis. Now that Weigand’s fifteen minutes of fame are over, perhaps he can concentrate on restoring his mental health.