WootBot


quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

December is a month full of festive observances, but one of the most important often gets overlooked: National Impaired Driving Prevention Month! Between all the holiday merrymaking and the terrible road conditions, it's a pretty good time to think more carefully about our driving. But what if not everything you think you know about the rules of the road is accurate? We have Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings behind the wheel all month to set you straight. Buckle up, check your blind spot, and pull away from the curb when it's safe and legal to do so.

The Debunker: Is It Sometimes Safer Not to Wear a Seat Belt?

Since the United States first required new cars to be fitted with seat belts in 1968, they've become one of the great public safety advancements of our time, saving close to half a million lives in this country alone. Wearing your seat belt is now required in forty-nine of the fifty U.S. states (live free or die, New Hampshire!) but that doesn't always stop the grumbling from drivers and passengers who find them uncomfortable. Sometimes these skeptics will claim, crediting murky law-enforcement statistics or hearsay, that wearing a seat belt is often more dangerous in an accident than not wearing one. For example, what if your car was on fire and your seat belt keeps you from getting to safety?

The Debunker

Well, we actually know how likely that possibility is. Trapped-in-a-car deaths (from burning or drowning) make up less than in one every one thousand vehicles traumas. And even in those rare accidents, you're statistically better off with your seat belt on. Why? Because the unbelted often wind up unconscious from the impact, which is a much bigger danger to someone in a burning or sinking car than having to unbuckle a safety belt. The much likelier cause of car fatalities is force of impact or ejection from the vehicle, and those are the injuries that seat belts are so good at preventing. Getting ejected from a car in an accident drops your chances of surviving by three-quarters.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found in repeated surveys that most adults are very good at remembering their seat belt these days, with compliance around 90 percent—until they get into the back seat. Then those same people only buckle up about three-quarters of the time, presumably in the belief that the back seat is safer in an accident. This was once true, says the organization, but it's out-of-date. Recent advances, like air bags, better seat belts, and cars built with "crumple zones," have made the front seat much safer but done little for back seat passengers. A 1997 computer simulation showed that Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed likely would have survived their fatal car crash if they'd just put on their seat belts as friends and family say they customarily did—but they were in the back seat that night, and apparently forgot.

Quick Quiz: What actress delivered the famous movie line "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night" in All About Eve?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

bblhed


quality posts: 11 Private Messages bblhed

Margo Channing

SylvreKat


quality posts: 39 Private Messages SylvreKat

While I'm as pro-seatbelt as possible, I must post that a classmate in h.s. wasn't paying attention (way pre-cell phones!) and slammed into the back end of a stopped long-end school bus. He happened to not have on his seatbelt and was ejected (suffering minor injuries). The bus sheared off everything over the level of the car's hood. If he'd had on his seatbelt, he would've been killed.

So that was one time that NOT wearing a seatbelt saved a life. However, that's also an extremely singular accident in which his car was low enough to fit under the bus, and the bus had the extended back end so that its tires didn't stop his car, and somehow he was ejected rather than just slammed forward into the steering wheel or windshield.

And he always wore his seatbelt after that. And paid attention to traffic around him.

>'Kat

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SylvreKat


quality posts: 39 Private Messages SylvreKat

And it was Bette Davis who said the quote--my Momma's absolute fave actress!

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Narfcake


quality posts: 394 Private Messages Narfcake

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first2summit


quality posts: 16 Private Messages first2summit
SylvreKat wrote:While I'm as pro-seatbelt as possible, I must post that a classmate in h.s. wasn't paying attention (way pre-cell phones!) and slammed into the back end of a stopped long-end school bus. He happened to not have on his seatbelt and was ejected (suffering minor injuries). The bus sheared off everything over the level of the car's hood. If he'd had on his seatbelt, he would've been killed.

So that was one time that NOT wearing a seatbelt saved a life. However, that's also an extremely singular accident in which his car was low enough to fit under the bus, and the bus had the extended back end so that its tires didn't stop his car, and somehow he was ejected rather than just slammed forward into the steering wheel or windshield.

And he always wore his seatbelt after that. And paid attention to traffic around him.

>'Kat



Such things happened with semi trailers, too, but they've minimized that by extending some bars below the floor of the trailer to prevent the car from getting the top sheared off.

RebelTaz


quality posts: 41 Private Messages RebelTaz

I'm all for wearing a seatbelt if you want to. What I am against is the FORCED enforcement of seatbelt use by an overbearing, intrusive government. Laws are supposed to protect innocent people from the actions of others - not protect people from themselves. How I choose to protect my own life - or even to show complete disregard for my own life - is my own business.

What's next? Enforcement agents roving the beached ensuring that beach-goers are correctly applying the government approved sunscreen. If not, they're issued citations? I mean, because we all "know" (ie. are told) that without SPF 1000000 sunscreen applied, we're all going to fry and die of skin cancer, so what's the difference between this scenario and the forced seatbelt law?

Having said that, I was in a wreck where my truck skidded off a wet road around a sharp bend after hitting a pothole. The truck hit a tree. In the instant before the impact, I was able to dive over towards the passenger side. I don't know why I did that, but something told me to. Anyway, the steering column was pushed up into the seat. Had I been wearing a seatbelt, that shaft would have been pushed through my chest.

I do not wear a seatbelt, nor will I ever.

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jloiselle


quality posts: 0 Private Messages jloiselle

[VMod edit: Redacted due to name calling.]

Narfcake


quality posts: 394 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

first2summit wrote:Such things happened with semi trailers, too, but they've minimized that by extending some bars below the floor of the trailer to prevent the car from getting the top sheared off.


Mansfield bars. Those have improved the past few years too.
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/new-crash-tests-underride-guards-on-most-big-rigs-leave-passenger-vehicle-occupants-at-risk-in-certain-crashes


RebelTaz wrote:I'm all for wearing a seatbelt if you want to. What I am against is the FORCED enforcement of seatbelt use by an overbearing, intrusive government. ...


That's on your local government. Enforcement was never at a national level.

FWIW, since a 3-point belt is open towards the center, the ability throw oneself over towards the passenger side is still possible. A floor hump/transmission tunnel would have prevented much of the lower body from shifting over anyway. It must be an older truck to have a non-collapsible steering column, though.

Either that or it's built like a Renault or Nissan in/from another country. A collapsible column is no use when the passenger cage collapses.



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RebelTaz


quality posts: 41 Private Messages RebelTaz
Narfcake wrote:It must be an older truck to have a non-collapsible steering column, though.



It was a '78 Ford F100.

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flipper7969


quality posts: 0 Private Messages flipper7969

was eve harrington

Narfcake


quality posts: 394 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

RebelTaz wrote:It was a '78 Ford F100.


6th gen, so crash safety was definitely not a strong point. It wasn't until the 11th generation when Ford made it a real concern.

10th was the jelly bean.

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SylvreKat


quality posts: 39 Private Messages SylvreKat
Narfcake wrote:6th gen, so crash safety was definitely not a strong point. It wasn't until the 11th generation when Ford made it a real concern.

10th was the jelly bean.



Do I really want to ask why it's called the jelly bean?

>'Kat

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Narfcake


quality posts: 394 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

SylvreKat wrote:Do I really want to ask why it's called the jelly bean?

>'Kat


The generations prior were more squared in style. The '97 to '02 10th gen was rounded off.

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SylvreKat


quality posts: 39 Private Messages SylvreKat
Narfcake wrote:The generations prior were more squared in style. The '97 to '02 10th gen was rounded off.



Oh. In the 96-99 generation of Taurii (esp the wagon), it was known as the fishbowl, aka "everything nmad thing in the car is ROUND!"

Some Ford designer obviously got stuck for an idea and stared at the logo for WAY too long!

Luckily, my old wagon was a '92. nmaD he was one really fine-looking car. And more linear cargo-space than an Explorer. When we moved the church's pipe organ, my Taurie hauled almost the entire rank of flute pipes, excepting just the very longest as we couldn't risk damaging them.

>'Kat, really missing my old Taurie-wagon--say TT, can you find my old wagon and send him to me if I Snag a Bag? Pweez? I promise I'll be disappointed in everything from now on.

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Narfcake


quality posts: 394 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

SylvreKat wrote:Oh. In the 96-99 generation of Taurii (esp the wagon), it was known as the fishbowl, aka "everything nmad thing in the car is ROUND!"

Some Ford designer obviously got stuck for an idea and stared at the logo for WAY too long!
...


Yeah. The Escorts of that era had a lot of oval cues too.

The Ford Flex is probably the closest decedent to the wagon. Same D4 platform as the Taurus, but with a long roof.

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SylvreKat


quality posts: 39 Private Messages SylvreKat
Narfcake wrote:Yeah. The Escorts of that era had a lot of oval cues too.

The Ford Flex is probably the closest decedent to the wagon. Same D4 platform as the Taurus, but with a long roof.



Not sure what a D4 platform is. But the Flex is very definitely a cwossovah not a wagon. Taller, bigger, higher taxes and insurance. Besides that it's really pretty ugly.

I'll just stick with my Focus hatch-wagon and be disappointed that it's so much smaller than my old Taurie. Helps me not fall in love with it.

>'Kat

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kalee11


quality posts: 42 Private Messages kalee11
RebelTaz wrote:I'm all for wearing a seatbelt if you want to. What I am against is the FORCED enforcement of seatbelt use by an overbearing, intrusive government. Laws are supposed to protect innocent people from the actions of others - not protect people from themselves. How I choose to protect my own life - or even to show complete disregard for my own life - is my own business.

What's next? Enforcement agents roving the beached ensuring that beach-goers are correctly applying the government approved sunscreen. If not, they're issued citations? I mean, because we all "know" (ie. are told) that without SPF 1000000 sunscreen applied, we're all going to fry and die of skin cancer, so what's the difference between this scenario and the forced seatbelt law?

Having said that, I was in a wreck where my truck skidded off a wet road around a sharp bend after hitting a pothole. The truck hit a tree. In the instant before the impact, I was able to dive over towards the passenger side. I don't know why I did that, but something told me to. Anyway, the steering column was pushed up into the seat. Had I been wearing a seatbelt, that shaft would have been pushed through my chest.

I do not wear a seatbelt, nor will I ever.



The government isn't protecting people from themselves, it's protecting them from what they don't know. You're assuming that all adults (also, what about child seatbelt laws? how do you feel about those?) are simply exercising their own free will by not using their seatbelt, when in fact many of them don't have access to information about how dangerous it is. Or they were told by someone that their cousin's cousin didn't wear his and survived, so that's what they want to hear.

They don't have this article and Ken Jennings telling them they are wrong, and it is safer to always wear a seatbelt. (Note my wording - it is not ALWAYS safer to wear a seatbelt, but it is safer to wear a seatbelt, overall.)

Also, the government is not forcefully putting your seatbelt on. They are simply saying you will be fined for not wearing one, because you are adding to the social cost by being intentionally reckless, for instance the healthcare system if you were injured in an accident.


bsmith1


quality posts: 152 Private Messages bsmith1
RebelTaz wrote:...
I do not wear a seatbelt, nor will I ever.



This is not at all surprising.

Make sure you tell this to your auto, health, and life insurance providers. Let me know what they say.

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 97 Private Messages daveinwarshington
RebelTaz wrote:
I do not wear a seatbelt, nor will I ever.

That's what my brother said.
...sigh.......
He hit a puddle on a San Diego freeway, doing 80. His Benz slid a bit to the left. Darn overpass pillar guardrail was there. His Benz went from 80 to 0 in 1/2 second.
The only thing that saved his life was German engineering, but his legs have metal I-beams instead of bones. The rest of his bones healed. Amazingly, if his belt was on, he would have had minor injuries. Instead, he slid under the steering wheel & crumpled up there. ouch.
What I'm afraid of is not my driving, but some jerk plowing into me that I didn't notice.
It sucked that seatbelt use became the State law, but elected legislators can make those decisions.

Calgaltoal


quality posts: 8 Private Messages Calgaltoal

It is really dumb NOT to wear a seatbelt.
Most of the time when someone gets killed in a car wreck, they state they were not wearing a seatbelt.

Many people are thrown from their vehicle and die, friend of ours did, his truck landed on him.

I fought it for years, undid alerts.
But good sense prevailed.
I was wearing one before the law was passed.
I feel safer when wearing one.

I would not brag about not wearing one and hope people take care of their kids, if not themselves.

I was a teacher and cannot begin to tell you how many small children I put in cars, with no child safety seat, much less seatbelts and these small ones in the front seat.

Back when I was a kid the only safety I had was my parent’s arm flinging out to keep me back.

Calgaltoal


quality posts: 8 Private Messages Calgaltoal
SylvreKat wrote:Oh. In the 96-99 generation of Taurii (esp the wagon), it was known as the fishbowl, aka "everything nmad thing in the car is ROUND!"

Some Ford designer obviously got stuck for an idea and stared at the logo for WAY too long!

Luckily, my old wagon was a '92. nmaD he was one really fine-looking car. And more linear cargo-space than an Explorer. When we moved the church's pipe organ, my Taurie hauled almost the entire rank of flute pipes, excepting just the very longest as we couldn't risk damaging them.

>'Kat, really missing my old Taurie-wagon--say TT, can you find my old wagon and send him to me if I Snag a Bag? Pweez? I promise I'll be disappointed in everything from now on.



I had one, the last car my dad found for me, it was gold. It was beautiful when I got it and had lots of room!
When I was single I bought station wagons for hauling things, did not want a SUV or truck.

My son totaled it, thank God, he was wearing a seatbelt.
Totaled two vehicles.
It is very hard going to those wrecks, seeing the vehicles and knowing I could have lost him.

chuckster123


quality posts: 0 Private Messages chuckster123
RebelTaz wrote:I'm all for wearing a seatbelt if you want to. What I am against is the FORCED enforcement of seatbelt use by an overbearing, intrusive government. Laws are supposed to protect innocent people from the actions of others - not protect people from themselves. How I choose to protect my own life - or even to show complete disregard for my own life - is my own business. ...

I do not wear a seatbelt, nor will I ever.



I'm curious - Do you have family or other dependents who will suffer financially if you die in a car crash because you weren't wearing a seat belt?

bsmith1


quality posts: 152 Private Messages bsmith1
chuckster123 wrote:I'm curious - Do you have family or other dependents who will suffer financially if you die in a car crash because you weren't wearing a seat belt?



Seems they buy a fair bit from woot, so woot would suffer financially. Buckle-up for woot, Taz.

scottvf


quality posts: 0 Private Messages scottvf
chuckster123 wrote:I'm curious - Do you have family or other dependents who will suffer financially if you die in a car crash because you weren't wearing a seat belt?



my family would get a lot of money because of my life insurance policy ($1,000,000) They would be better off. I don't wear mine and never will.

songbirdjhs


quality posts: 14 Private Messages songbirdjhs
bblhed wrote:Margo Channing



SylvreKat wrote:And it was Bette Davis who said the quote--my Momma's absolute fave actress!



This famous line is spoken by the character Margo Channing, played by Bette Davis.

Generalizations are generally wrong

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RebelTaz


quality posts: 41 Private Messages RebelTaz

Well, let's see... since it's not easy being someone with their own mind and their own opinions, allow me to offer my responses and rebuttals...


kalee11 wrote:The government isn't protecting people from themselves, it's protecting them from what they don't know. You're assuming that all adults (also, what about child seatbelt laws? how do you feel about those?) are simply exercising their own free will by not using their seatbelt, when in fact many of them don't have access to information about how dangerous it is. Or they were told by someone that their cousin's cousin didn't wear his and survived, so that's what they want to hear.

They don't have this article and Ken Jennings telling them they are wrong, and it is safer to always wear a seatbelt. (Note my wording - it is not ALWAYS safer to wear a seatbelt, but it is safer to wear a seatbelt, overall.)

Also, the government is not forcefully putting your seatbelt on. They are simply saying you will be fined for not wearing one, because you are adding to the social cost by being intentionally reckless, for instance the healthcare system if you were injured in an accident.



If the government just wanted to protect people from what they didn't know, then they would put out public service announcements. Oh, wait... they do. And I hope you were being facetious about this article and Ken Jennings telling us we're wrong. As for the government "simply saying" I'll be fined, that's like saying the government "simply says" they'll put you in jail if you rob a bank. As for requiring kids be in seatbelts, yeah... I can understand that since most people today can't even be bothered to remember that their kid is even in the car without putting their briefcase in the backseat with them, much less give a damn about the child's well being. So, yeah.. a law that protects the innocent life of a child from the negligent actions of his/her parent(s)... sure. Just not a law that protects an adult from his/her own actions.


bsmith1 wrote:This is not at all surprising.

Make sure you tell this to your auto, health, and life insurance providers. Let me know what they say.



If you don't have anything nice to say, can't you just not say anything at all?

As for my "auto, health and life insurance providers"... I've another shock for you. I don't subscribe to that racket, either. See, I was raised with this insane notion that people are responsible for their own expenses. I have always paid my own way in this world and I see no reason to change now.


Calgaltoal wrote:It is really dumb NOT to wear a seatbelt.
Most of the time when someone gets killed in a car wreck, they state they were not wearing a seatbelt.



It's funny you say that, because have you ever noticed the number of times that there is a fatality in a car wreck and the media says NOTHING about whether a seatbelt was worn or not? Knowing, as we all do, that when a seatbelt is NOT worn in a fatal wreck, the media is the first to report that fact, then we must deduce that in reports were there is NO mention of seatbelt use, then the deceased must have been wearing one. Now, you count the number of times you DON'T hear that a seatbelt was not used versus the times you DO hear that a seatbelt was not worn and you tell me again how much safer you are.

Calgaltoal wrote:I fought it for years, undid alerts.
But good sense prevailed.
I was wearing one before the law was passed.
I feel safer when wearing one.



And that is your RIGHT. Just as it is my right to not wear one. I have never said that no one should wear a seatbelt. I don't like motorcycle helmet laws either, but I still wear one, even in Florida where it's not required. The point is that as adults, we are supposed to choose our own destiny, not have it rammed down our throats by a overbearing government.

Calgaltoal wrote:
Back when I was a kid the only safety I had was my parent’s arm flinging out to keep me back.



And yet, here you are We rode bikes with no helmets, too... Yet somehow, our generation managed to survive those dark ages


chuckster123 wrote:I'm curious - Do you have family or other dependents who will suffer financially if you die in a car crash because you weren't wearing a seat belt?



No, I don't... but I find it telling that your question is "if you die, will there be a financial burden on your family" rather than "if you die, will your family not miss you." It's always about the Almighty Dollar isn't it?

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ashfamily


quality posts: 3 Private Messages ashfamily

Everyone should have the right to not wear a seat belt. However, in pure economic terms, utilizing that right should come at the cost of insurance premiums properly charging you for the additional costs of your decisions. Extra hospital bills, YOU pay. Extra doctors expenses, YOU pay. Extra rehab expenses, YOU pay. Extra car repair bills, YOU pay. So long as my premiums are not effected by YOUR decisions, I don't care what you do; Live Free or Die. The true American way is for you to have the freedom to choose for yourself, but you don't have the ability to moved the risks of those decisions onto everyone else. Insurance should pay for unknown risks, not risks created by individuals.

Oh wise Woot owl ... How many licks DOES it take to get to the center? The world may never know.

RebelTaz


quality posts: 41 Private Messages RebelTaz
ashfamily wrote:Everyone should have the right to not wear a seat belt. However, in pure economic terms, utilizing that right should come at the cost of insurance premiums properly charging you for the additional costs of your decisions. Extra hospital bills, YOU pay. Extra doctors expenses, YOU pay. Extra rehab expenses, YOU pay. Extra car repair bills, YOU pay. So long as my premiums are not effected by YOUR decisions, I don't care what you do; Live Free or Die. The true American way is for you to have the freedom to choose for yourself, but you don't have the ability to moved the risks of those decisions onto everyone else. Insurance should pay for unknown risks, not risks created by individuals.



Since I don't have insurance, I DO assume all risks associated with my decisions.

May I ask you this... Does your line of thinking extend to my sunscreen example? What about alcohol consumption? Or tobacco use? If a drinker has liver trouble... if a smoker gets lung cancer... if someone who lays out at the beach gets skin cancer... should insurance then refuse to pay those expenses? Or should those be outlawed, even in the privacy of ones own home, since they are known to cause medical issues.

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scottvf


quality posts: 0 Private Messages scottvf
ashfamily wrote:Everyone should have the right to not wear a seat belt. However, in pure economic terms, utilizing that right should come at the cost of insurance premiums properly charging you for the additional costs of your decisions. Extra hospital bills, YOU pay. Extra doctors expenses, YOU pay. Extra rehab expenses, YOU pay. Extra car repair bills, YOU pay. So long as my premiums are not effected by YOUR decisions, I don't care what you do; Live Free or Die. The true American way is for you to have the freedom to choose for yourself, but you don't have the ability to moved the risks of those decisions onto everyone else. Insurance should pay for unknown risks, not risks created by individuals.



You actually have higher hospital bills if you wear your seat belt because you would live and rack up bills while in the hospital. The only bills you have if you don't wear your seat belt in a bad collision is the funeral bill. I've been driving for 40 years and never injured myself while not wearing my seatbelt. I totaled 2 cars (when I was 17 and 22) and didn't have a scratch on me.

FeRDNYC


quality posts: 0 Private Messages FeRDNYC
scottvf wrote:my family would get a lot of money because of my life insurance policy ($1,000,000) They would be better off. I don't wear mine and never will.



Are you sure your life insurance policy will pay out, if you die in a wreck and weren't wearing a safety belt?

Probably worth checking that. Though I'm guessing if the answer is no, you'd cancel the policy rather than start buckling up?