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Your take: Who pays the $200 ticket?

Is the parent or the driver responsible when the child in the car pool doesn't buckle up?

By Karen Datko Apr 12, 2010 12:40PM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.


I’ve been listening to a lot of talk radio in the mornings lately, and the other day a strange financial situation came up. I thought it would be cool to see how you all interpret it.


The callers to the show seemed to be pretty 50/50, but to me there was really just one clear side (you’ll see what that is in a bit). But, as many of you know, I can get persuaded pretty easily when I’m outside my level of expertise. So check it out and then let me know what you think about it.


The 'situation' (GTL, baby!)

The situation is pretty common, I think. Neighbor A picks up Neighbor B’s kid to help drive all the kids to school or to some event, and Neighbor A tells everyone in the car to buckle up. All fine and dandy so far. But, Neighbor A decides to make an illegal U-turn or some other minor infraction of the law (can’t remember what exactly, sorry) and gets pulled over by the police. And, well, as it turns out Neighbor B’s kid happens to be the only one in the car without her seat belt on. This makes Mr. PO-lice pretty upset and encourages him to slap a $200 ticket on Neighbor A’s lap. Ouch.

Now, I wouldn’t have thought too much about the responsibility part of it here. I would have just continued on in a super ticked-off state of mind. But apparently Driver/Neighbor A decides that it wasn’t her fault at all that her friend’s kid wasn’t wearing a seat belt. In fact, she believes this so strongly that she wants the kid’s mother (Neighbor B) to split the cost with her. And therein lies the situation.

My take

The short version: Is that woman for real?
The longer version: Is that woman for real? There is no way I’d ask for my neighbor to front half of that bill. If I did something illegal and thus got pulled over because of it, it is totally my fault regardless if little miss sunshine listened to my instructions or not. The whole A-caused-B-to-happen effect. Without A, you don’t get your B. Pretty simple.


The reason I ask for your input here is because seeing as how I haven’t raised any kids yet, I may be missing a few of the ingredients to this argument. As some of the callers mentioned on the show, if that child had been “raised right,” Neighbor A wouldn't have gotten the ticket. Apparently this seat belt etiquette is pretty important with kids.


So, what do you think? Does Neighbor B need to shell out her half of the $200 to make things right? Or is this just as ridiculous as Philly trading McNabb to the Redskins? (Which, by the way, I am not complaining about. I can’t tell you how excited I am as a Redskins fan.)


Related reading at Budgets are Sexy:

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