Congratulations to The Times for publishing Franklin W. Nutter's article regarding mandatory seat-belt legislation in California (Editorial Pages, Jan. 27).
On behalf of the Los Angeles Motor Car Dealers Assn., I endorse the statements in Nutter's well-documented article on the many savings in lives and dollars if mandatory seat-belt legislation is passed in California and additional states.
As he points out, even if everyone does not belt up, hundreds of lives still will be saved.
California is a pivotal state since New York, New Jersey and Illinois already have mandatory seat-belt laws. Many members of our Legislature are for the passage, but Gov. George Deukmejian has not committed himself to sign such legislation because he doesn't think it's the government's business to tell motorists how to protect themselves.
I point out to the readers of The Times and to the governor that if states with two-thirds of the U.S. population do not have mandatory seat-belt laws by Sept. 1, 1986, the passive restraints (which probably includes air bags) must be installed in all new cars by federal mandate.
Our association recommends seat belts because we know that air bags, as developed today, have an element of hazard, do not protect from side or rear blows and, from what our own repair experts have seen, are almost impossible to maintain.
Barish is president of the Los Angeles Motor Car Dealers Assn.