Seat Belts

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Seat Belts


Last Wednesday evening I attended the funeral visitation for the 19 year old son of a co-worker.


He was killed in a single vehicle accident.  Likely, he swerved to aviod a deer, his van rolled and he was ejected, and he was crushed by the van.  A seatbelt would have saved his life.  A seatbelt would likely have meant he would have walked away from the accident.  My co-worker friend is not a reckless man, or a foolish one, nor was his late son. 

I don't understand this.


A couple of years ago, a friend of one of my daughters was killed in similar fashion.  And, last night, reading a news story about a person being sentenced due to causeing a death because she was drunk driving, it's clear that her friend would have survived if he had been wearing a seatbelt.

Is there a trend for young people not to wear seatbelts? 

I don't understand this.   

For parents of young adults, don't nag about seat belts. But pay attention to what they're actually doing.


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

That's a pretty appalling trend if it is one. Seat belts plus the mandatory shoulder harness are proven life savers, although they don't prevent other injuries. There's no way on earth I'd start up my small truck without fastening the seat belt/shoulder harness first.  On the other hand, just to show that I can be as idiotic as anyone else, I really hate wearing bicycle helmets, and I do so, reluctantly. 


Very sorry to hear about this loss Tommy. My 19 year old son always wears a seatbelt but never a bike helmet. It's "uncool".

When I drove a taxi, I always insisted that my passengers wear their seatbelts because in the case of a collision, the laws of physics still applied in a car and that they would be a health & safety hazard to me (although I was exempt but wore mine anyway).

The worst was when they wouldn't buckle up their kids. I was pretty insistent and refused to drive them without their seatbelts. Usually they complied but occasionally I had to ask them to get out and find another cab. 


Very sorry to hear about your friend's son, Tommy.  

I don't think it's a trend towards the not wearing of seatbelts, but rather, the careless behaviour of young people, as a stage they go through, and sometimes, tragically not survive.  A few years ago I attended the funeral of a friend's 18 year old son, killed when he ran across a busy Toronto street without looking.  It was extremely cold that day, and I suspect he rushed because he was freezing; he was otherwise a bright young guy with generally good judgement, who made this single mistake that cost him his life, and devastated his mother's, sister's and brother's lives for years afterwards.

I have two young teenagers, and it scares me when I think of the stupid things I did and got away with as a young person, things that have killed people less lucky: drinking to the point of passing out at a large party, running across a busy street in very high heels, driving when I had too much to drink.  I cringe when I think of these things, and hope my kids have better sense.

G. Muffin

I had a friend who refused to wear her seat belt because her particular nightmare was being trapped in a wreck and burning to death.  Years later, she was killed in an accident when she flew through the windshield. 


it scares me when I think of the stupid things I did and got away with as a young person
Me too although I'll leave the examples out. 


I have two young teenagers, and it scares me when I think of the stupid things I did and got away with as a young person, things that have killed people less lucky:

Aye, we've all been through that.  And luck as much as anything got us through it.  I guess all we can do is try our best to skew the odds as much in their favour as we can.  

Luck is the residue of good planning.

It struck me that there are people who have an unresonable fear of being trapped in a vehicle due to a jammed seat belt.  Instead of trying to reason with them (as people try to reason with me about my unreasonable fear of flying...which doesn't work, btw.)  give them a Buck knife. 

I used to carry a tolfa knife in the car or van just for that purpose.  Mostly the idea of coming across an accident scene and using it to cut someone's seat belt away.  Or, my own if it came to it, though it's not a particular fear of mine.   But in an accident, a tolfa knife in a door side pocket is doubtless going to be thrown around, and not where you put it.  So, a buck knife in a leather pouch that threads through your belt is the way to go, if one is really that concerned about being trapped by a seat belt.   I didn't get a Buck knife for this purpose, but now I have one, it strikes me as just the thing to allay that fear-- or take that excuse away.



I don't know if this girl was wearing a seatbelt or not, but it didn't make any difference - her lower legs were trapped and they eventually got her out with the jaws of life - after she burned for almost a minute.

(If you want to help this girl, link through here):



It may sound a bit harsh, but motor vehicles whose driver or passengers are caught without seat belts should be confiscated - at least temporarily. That will help deal with the problem really fast, IMHO.

Of course, when buses and trains are not equipped with seat belts, it becomes harder to preach when we're not practising.

Another problem is car-surfing. Police seem to be rather lax in such instances. No wonder seat-belt laws are not taken very seriously:

[url= 16-year-old dies after fall from sofa on pickup truck[/color][/url]


Police say officers were called to a property west of Exeter at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday where the teen had been sitting on a sofa that was resting on the box of a moving pickup truck.

Police say the sofa and the rider fell off the back. [...]

The driver of the truck, another 16-year-old boy from South Huron, was taken into custody but was later released. Police say the investigation continues.

They released the driver? Did they impound the vehicle?



I agree that seat belt use in cars should be enforced, to prevent this kind of tragedy, just as we require motorcycle riders in this country to live free and die less with their helmets on.

BTW seatbelts on school buses are not so clear.

Transport Canada currently applies 37 federal safety standards to the design and construction of school buses manufactured in or imported into Canada. These standards address such safety features as brake systems, lighting, emergency exits, seat strength and padding, and tires.
Federal standards currently call for high­backed seats made of soft, energy-absorbing materials to retain occupants in their place in the event of an accident. Information from all types of school bus collisions demonstrates that the current school bus design provides a high level of protection to occupants.
Based on its accident research analysis, Transport Canada has determined that seat belts may actually adversely affect the safety of children on school buses. For example, school bus crash tests conducted by the department revealed that lap­belted occupants would be more likely to sustain serious head and neck injuries than would unbelted occupants in frontal collisions.
The department also believes that combination lap and shoulder belts could pose problems, because they cannot be adjusted to safely restrain smaller children and any slackness could injure a child. In addition, these seat belts would require the presence of stiff seats for installation, which could cause injury to an unbelted child.
Evidently school buses all have extra horizontal stiffeners to absorb the force of an impact with a car. Most of the seats are out of the impact range. Window frames are deliberately small to prevent ejection. By "encapsulating" a child between two seats, injuries are minimized.