Don’t Be Stupid

When you are in a car on the road, wear a seatbelt.  It can save your life. So many people seem to want to set themselves up for a Darwin Award. This post from Wired tries to explain why.

It’s not completely surprising, despite rapidly evolving safety tech. Thanks to the recession recovery and low gas prices, Americans are hitting the road more, especially riskier drivers, and they’re more distracted than ever.

What is shocking is that 48 percent of those killed in passenger vehicles—nearly 10,000 people—weren’t wearing a restraint when they died. Who the hell doesn’t wear their seat belt these days? And how do you convince the holdouts to save their own lives and buckle up?

The Culprits

According to the latest National Highway Safety Administration numbers collected by observers who creep on real-live drivers, 88.5 percent of drivers and front seat riders buckle up. That leftover 11.5 percent are most likely to be young men living in rural areas (especially the Midwest), driving pickup trucks.

Why? “Some people dislike the government telling them what to do,” says Russ Rader, who heads up communications for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Refusing to buckle up can be a political statement. Some, like your horrible high school boyfriend, complain the things are uncomfortable, or that other methods keep them safe, or that they don’t want to get trapped with one on.

Some people can’t click it for medical reasons. Others just forget, or have pseudo-rational rules about when belts are appropriate—not on short trips, not when it’s sunny out, not when they’re passengers, and so on. (Never mind that more than half of fatal crashes occur within five miles of home, and that unrestrained passengers not only die in crashes but become flesh-and-bone projectiles, taking buckled-in drivers out with them.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rightfully touts convincing Americans to wear seat belts as one of the greatest public health victories of the twentieth century—just 11 percent buckled up in 1981. The industry’s attention has moved to more advanced tech, like electronic stability control, automatic braking, autopilot systems. But “seat belts are still the most effective way to reduce injuries and reduce fatalities in serious crashes,” says Ruth Shults, a senior epidemiologist who heads up the transportation safety team at the CDC. “They are still so important.” Every road death without a seat belt, she says, is “a real tragedy.”

Somehow, Way Too Many Americans Still Aren’t Wearing Seat Belts

I’ve always worn a seat belt.  Not because I’m a bad driver, but because thins can turn ugly in a heartbeat. these  videos are gruesome, but so is real life. I’ve driven as much as 25,000 mile in a single year on commutes.  I’ve seen probably a couple of hundred accidents due to just about everything.  Across the   street from me a car ended up in the neighbor’s tree. I’ve never seen a fatal accident where somebody was wearing a seatbelt.  Without one, well the driver of that car across the street?  He ended up in the tree, outside the car.  Fortunately he survived.  Many people aren’t so lucky. Look if you need somebody to give you a ticket to because you are doing something stupid that you know is stupid, what does that say about YOU?

 

Buckle up.  Here in the US it’s typically the law.  Everywhere being unbuckled makes you a Darwin Award candidate.  Buckle up and  save lives, especially your own.

 

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3 comments

  1. penneyvanderbilt · September 8, 2016

    Reblogged this on KCJones.

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  2. JP Kalishek · September 8, 2016

    before the belt laws I got into the habit because my car at the time (cost me a whopping $25) had been towed after an axle failure, and the belt was cut to hold the wheel straight. so to keep the belt from flopping around and annoying me, I set it to one length and wore it. then noticed in my rather hard driving (I’d do rally style driving on dirt roads, some autocross stuff etc.) that a tight belt really helped control the car because it held one in place all the time. Then on, I preferred tighter belts than most folks. Then I started racing and wore a 5 point harness. I’ve been in a roll-over, and I have hit a wall hard enough to bruise deeply everywhere the belts were.
    I also used to lean the seat back a bit, pull the belts tight, then lean forward or slide the seat up to tighten the belts and keep them tight in my vehicles until I got my current truck, it sits wrong and anything tighter than factory design is uncomfortable I bet in a wreck the belts will likely crack a collar bone but that’s better than a face full of steering wheel and windshield.

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  3. CoolHand · September 13, 2016

    I raced stock cars for many years in my youth (and hope to again some day in the future, when the revolution and Depression 2.0 are over), and I have hit things hard enough in a five point harness to convince me that it is the height of folly to drive a car without some kind of restraint.

    You would be amazed how much your body will stretch under a hard impact. I once hit my helmet on the steering wheel hard enough to bend it over backwards, all while strapped in tight. There was almost 20″ between my head and the wheel when I leaned all the way forward when belted in, yet my neck, back, and belts stretched far enough in that wreck for one to very solidly contact the other (my helmet also contacted my collar bones quite solidly, very nearly breaking them, this was before HANS was even a glint in the inventor’s eye).

    Honestly, you cannot protect the terminally stupid from themselves forever, and I’m not sure that you should anyway.

    We don’t have natural predators anymore to thin the herd, maybe we’ve simply built some mechanical predators to do the job for us.

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