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16 October 2009 @ 08:58 pm
SEATBELTS!  
I believe in seatbelts. I believe in them with a profound and unshakeable faith. Well, it's less of a belief as such and more of a tried and tested result from an extensive data set including a few unfortunate control experiments. My father's driving was eccentric at best, and while I am the most law-abiding cyclist in the world, I foolishly kept cycling when I moved to Sydney, so was able to experience first hand and several times that a human body can fly quite well, it's just the landings we suck at.

Here's another reason to believe in seatbelts. Yesterday in Melbourne a young mother lost grip on her pushchair/stroller for a moment, and it rolled away from her quickly, infant inside. No one could catch it before it fell onto the tracks, and the pushchair and child were both hit by a train. The baby boy, who was securely held in with his seatbelt, was pushed along upside down for over 30m, but is fine save for a bump on his head. Be warned that the video is a bit heart in mouth.

Seriously, seatbelts.

Princess Diana would still be alive, James Dean would probably be a grandfather and tens of thousands of people who die every year would not. I do not understand people who make it an 'issue' of 'personal choice'. Seatbelts do not trap people in wrecks. I've been in cars upside down and a friend was in one in the water. Because we'd been wearing seatbelts, we both were in excellent condition at the end of the accidents we were in, and we were easily able to escape our cars, having undone our seatbelts. If you're that worried, keep a Swiss Army knife in your pocket to slash a belt post-accident.

I love seatbelts. And sunblock, too, but it already has enough champions.
 
 
 
It's that Bucket woman!curia_regis on October 16th, 2009 10:30 am (UTC)
It puzzled me when I first found out that seatbelts were an issue of "personal choice". I mean, it's against the law here to go without a seatbelt and it's almost instinct for me to buckle up when I'm in a car. I feel weird when I'm in buses without seatbelts.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 11:25 am (UTC)
I know, it's craziness!

When I were a wee lass not every car came with seatbelts in the back and I spent a disturbing amount of time sliding across leather bench seats. When a truck accidentally backed into (more onto) that car, I demanded Dad buy one that had belts abungo! And I thoroughly agree with you on the buses. At least in Sydney they can't really get above 30km/h
alienor77310alienor77310 on October 16th, 2009 10:57 am (UTC)
It's instinctive for me to put on a seatbelt when I sit in a car. I just wish whoever designs the things would take into account women with boobs. I have to reposition mine every few minutes or it cuts into my throat - not a good solution in case of a crash.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
Ooh, I have a similar problem, being very midgety. If your car has those handy adjuster things where the belt comes out of the car body at the top point, slide it down to the lowest setting and it is much better!
alienor77310alienor77310 on October 16th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
Alas, it's already all the way down. It's just the car that's badly designed... unless you're flat-chested.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC)
Male designer! A booster seat is out of the question, I suggest a flak jacket! Or a steel breastplate so that you can freak out anyone who cuts you off ;-)
Seshetasesheta_66 on October 16th, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
They sell pads that help with that (I too am short with boobs). Not sure where to get it where you live.

I also had one that you could wrap around both the lap and shoulder belts (effectively pulling them together), at the very bottom. It served to adjust the angle ever-so-slightly, but enough to prevent the scratching on the neck without removing the shoulder strap's safety (as it would if tucked under one's arm).
Glitter Me Timbersciel_vert on October 16th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Argh, I have the same issue! Stupid male seatbelt designers. :(((
Klara: Blue Mummimammamummimamma on October 16th, 2009 11:03 am (UTC)
I watched that film, aand oh, dear. Perhaps a belt between mother and pram would be an idea too?

As for personal anecdotes; If it wasn't for seatbelts I wouldn't have had a mother (or an ex-stepfather) now. Whenever I get into a car I grasp for the seatbelt, although here in Nroway it isn't a choice, it is mandatory. I have quarreled with a lot of taxi drivers in the Middle East who say that when I wear a seatbelt I doubt their driving skille. Which I do by the way.

By the way, this is the Norwegian commercial reminding us to fasten the seatbelts - I kind of like it:


Edited at 2009-10-16 11:04 am (UTC)
Pureblood Princessraitala on October 16th, 2009 11:11 am (UTC)
That advert is really quite lovely!
pingridpingrid on October 17th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
It's really is, isn't it! And the pics are out on boards along the roads as well. Nice reminders. Though the initial reports were that the campaign wasn't too successful, because the pictures appealed to a slightly more mature audience (late 20s-30s) who were already buckling up, rather than the young and stupid reckless. Still, it can't hurt!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)
Yes! They have signs and announcements in Australia reminding people to always hold onto their strollers, I think this one incident will do more good than all the notices in making people actually do so.

I do think that mandatory belts are by far the best idea; most of the countries I have lived in have similar laws and they very simply save lives. But yes, I have had people (usually men) insist it is an insult to buckle up, too, and I suspect your response is the one I will use from now on!

That commercial is beautiful and eloquent, who needs a better reason?
Jenn Van Den Boomgracilejenn on October 16th, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
I too, am pro-seatbelt. I have my kids convinced that the car actually won't start unless everyone has their belt on. I saw that video earlier today, and oh, I'm so glad the baby is all right.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 11:28 am (UTC)
That is GENIUS.

Yeah, I would not have been talking about this issue had the young lad not been fine, because even though I knew there was a happy ending before I saw it, the body language of all on that platform is just awful to see. The poor train driver! They are paying for counselling for him, I think he will need it!
maevemistmaevemist on October 16th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
I am a HUGE selbelt fan. I have only ever had one bad car accident and at the time I was a baby. In those days a baby travelled in their bassinet and cars did not have seat belts in the back seat, (as you mentioned) but the accident shook my mum badly enough that her car does not move without all seatbelts fastened nor does mine.

Just this evening my son had a panic attack because he was wearing wizard robes and he couldn't get his belt done up. We happily waited for him to remove the robes and calm down enough to get his belt on before we moved anywhere.

I hate not having belts on buses and that Taxi drivers do not wear them or more to the point that they do not HAVE to wear them.

Click Clack Front and Back People.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 11:58 am (UTC)
Oh hurrah! Kids who put their seatbelts on automatically keep the habit for life. Well done!

The problem with taxi drivers who don't want to wear a belt is that in an accident, they become a missile within the vehicle. I can understand that they worry about attacks from customers, but nice looking adult women like you or me ... well yes, they can belt up.
Seshetasesheta_66 on October 16th, 2009 12:11 pm (UTC)
YIKES! OMG ... just ... OMG.

I actually had a friend who, in high school, did die because he was trapped inside his Jeep by a seatbelt. The passenger was flung free of the vehicle while he remained inside as it flipped over and over. His friend escaped with only a sprained wrist, scratches & bruises.

Having said that, it's the one instance I know to be true. AND it speaks to the safety (or lack thereof) of Jeeps more than seatbelts, since in any vehicle with a roof - or with strong enough support beams surrounding him - he would not have been crushed in such a manner. AND his friend might just as easily have been crushed by the flipping vehicle.

So ... not disagreeing with you about their safety benefits, except to say that it has happened. But the number of people saved by seatbelts far outweighs the one I'm aware of that died.

But, on a final note, I do believe it's personal choice. I don't believe you should be penalised for not wearing one. If you're dumb enough not to, so be it. Though parents should be accountable if their kids aren't wearing one, because that's no longer their OWN safety. For the record, I wear mine, as do my kids. And, as far as I'm aware, so does everyone else I know.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
The problem with the personal choice model is that the only proven cause of raising seatbelt use beyond the people who would normally use them is punitive legislation. Information campaigns have very little effect, fines have a significant effect.

Sadly, it's not just the person not wearing the seatbelt who is making the choice with their own body; it's everyone they hit while they are functioning as a projectile. Though as one of my medico friends says, we need to find organ donors somewhere. She's a bit harsh ...

And god, do not get me started on Jeeps! The current crop with the solid bodies are decent enough, but the types we had in the 70s were lethal. I'll never forget being in a soft-topped one watching the indents as the lioness on top of it rolled over to sun her other side. Yes, if you're going to drive a car like that, definitely the Swiss Army in the pocket optional extra!
Seshetasesheta_66 on October 16th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
Well, population control can be added to the donor list. Survival of the brightest, you know. :)

My sister's SO is being fast-tracked onto the liver transplant list, so if someone not wearing a seatbelt chooses to donate, who am I to argue?

*runs away*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
Surely that's where archery accidents come into play? More usable organs in better nick!

Though I was once down at the Water Police and I saw a terribly mangled boat. I asked the Senior Sergeant what had happened to the people who had been driving it, he replied 'Oh, happy ending!'

I looked at all the blood, and what could have been brain matter, and asked with a raised eyebrow: 'Really?'

'Oh yeah,' he replied. 'Both the guys who knicked this were registered organ donors.'
ladyjanevaladyjaneva on October 16th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
I have to laugh at that. I know it's not 'funny' in the classical sense, but it made me laugh nonetheless.
Glitter Me Timbersciel_vert on October 16th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
I too am very pro-seatbelt. I'm also pro-child safety seat up to a ridiculous age (there are some states in this country that don't require parents to put their children in booster seats once they're past actual car seat age/weight which is just ridiculous IMO). It's complete instinct for me to put on my seatbelt when I get in the car. My car actually yells (ok, it doesn't really yell, but makes an obnoxious beeping noise) if the driver and front seat passenger are in the car and the car is moving and their seatbelts aren't on.

I did know a girl in high school though, who refused to wear a seatbelt ever. Her reason was that her brother had been killed in a car accident, and according to her, the injuries that killed him were caused BY the seatbelt he was wearing. I hated to doubt her on that, but if that was the case, those killed by their seatbelt has to be such a small number in comparison to those killed by NOT wearing their seatbelt, that I see no point in risking one's life that way.

Edited at 2009-10-16 02:01 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
I always think in those cases that to be killed by the seatbelt, the crash must have been so appalling that if the seatbelt had not killed them, the dashboard would have next. But yes, very hard to say that to anyone who firmly believes it!

Kid seats are great, and they really do save lives: keeping them for older kids has a strong statistical significance for safety in accidents. Good move! And I love the yelling car!
Glitter Me Timbersciel_vert on October 16th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
Oh my, I saw the video clip at lunch on the breakroom tv and it was just horrifying! Even though I knew everything turned out okay, it was so awful to see.

I love my yelling car! Whenever people get in it for the first time and don't seem inclined to buckle up, I always say, "Put your seatbelt on or Frankie's gonna yell at you." They're always a little surprised when Frankie actually does "yell". :D
calanthe_fics on October 16th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
I will take your word on the film.

I cannot bring myself to watch it. Since becoming a mummy I get very tearful at the thought of hurt children.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
CCTV, but even then it's hold the breath stuff. At least he is young enough to not be mentally scarred when he sees trains in future!
Bubba: Harrowabsynthedrinker on October 16th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
Though it may break a few hearts, Jimmy Dean really was batting for the other side. Amazing story. Thanks

Peace,
Bubba
blamebramptonblamebrampton on October 16th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHA! I actually sat there for five minutes thinking 'Oooh, except that he would probably have had a great affair with a very hot boy' and then I thought 'Eh, Cary Grant had kids; there'd be a nice lesbian out there who wanted one and he'd be happy to have a large house.'
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on October 17th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Really? Interesting!
Catscatsintheattic on October 16th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
I can't even start the car before I've locked the seatbelt. It's so ingrained, I even do it when I just change parking spaces.
just your everyday tragic heroinetray_la_la on October 16th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
omg, that video is horrifying! i can't believe the train was going slow enough that the impact alone didn't kill the baby. *shudders*

i am so with you on the seatbelt front. i am a HUGE advocate and enforcer of wearing your seatbelts in taxis too. i mean, they're still cars, for fuck's sake, and cab drivers are notoriously wild behind the wheel. admittedly, i didn't always abide by the cab = car = duh, wear seatbelt maxim, but after two accidents in cabs, i am religious about it.
Sarah: Nice Hair, Clever, Has Her Own Gun: 1984thenotoriousso4 on October 16th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
I can't even count the number of times that seatbelts have saved my life and the lives of those I love, and that's why my car never starts unless everyone is fastened in.

And for those who worry, I always have one of these handy:

Photobucket

It'll cut your seatbelt, break your window, and even has a nifty flashlight built right in.
ladyjanevaladyjaneva on October 16th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Fastening your seatbelts is mandatarory in Germany for the two people in the front seats. I don't know about the back seats.

I always, ALWAYS wear one. My dad hardly ever does. My mom does, but only after she's already driven a bit and then puts it on in the most hazardous way while she keeps driving. It drives me nuts, but I've tried to change that habit of hers for years and had no success.
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on October 17th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
When I was an insurance defense lawyer, I saw so many accidents in which the only survivors wore seatbelts. It made a believer out of me, thought I'm still prone to not putting mine on until I back out of a parking space.

Growing up, we never wore seatbelts when my father was driving (but my mother insisted on them).
adores_dracoadores_draco on October 18th, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
A cheap life insurance. That's how I see seat belts.
adores_dracoadores_draco on October 18th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
A man told me years ago that he had been thrown through a windscreen. Not only once but twice. I told him - nicely and politely *cough* - that the first time might have been carelessness but the second time was pure stupidity.

Seatbelts good. Not seatbelts bad. *nods*



LadyDark1 ~ A  Harry and Draco Slash Addict.Period: Musing by the Moonldydark1 on October 18th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
(buckles up)This post had major impact on me. Thank you for doing so.