116 Seat Belt Laws

People started installing their own seat belts as early as the first cars to reduce the bouncing. In the 1930s, physicians in the US equipped their cars with lap belts and urged auto manufactures to provide them in all new cars. 1950 saw the first factory installed seat belts in the Nash Statesman and Ambassador models. Retractable seat belts in automobiles were first introduced in the early 1950s by a neurologist, Dr. C. Hunter Shelden, as a way to prevent people suffering from auto accident-related head trauma. Volvo design engineer, Nils Bohlin, patented the first 3-point safety belt in 1958.

There were no regulations for seat belt performance in the U.S. until after National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 created what is now the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). The first seat belt law took effect in 1968. The law required manufacturers to fit seat belts into vehicles.

In 1965, Nader, 31, penned "Unsafe at Any Speed," a best-selling exposé that claimed car manufacturers were sacrificing lives for style and profit. Nader argued that Detroit willfully neglected advances in auto safety to keep costs down.

Yet, the use of seat belts didn’t become mandatory until each state in the U.S. established their own seat belt laws. In 1984New York became the first state to mandate that drivers use a seat belt. Over the next eleven years 48 other states instituted seat belt use laws. New Hampshire is the only U.S. state without a seat belt use law for drivers.

Holy Crap Thinking

There were many arguments for and against seat belt laws. Many argued stronger seat belt laws reduce their personal freedom, taking away their right to choose whether or not to buckle up. Some say there would have been fewer injuries if they had not been wearing a seat belt. First responders also say they often see passengers who wore their seat belts too loosely, leading to increased injury. "I'm just going down the street." But 80 percent of fatal traffic accidents happen within 25 miles of the home. If you are thrown from the vehicle, you are 25 percent more likely to be fatally injured. If there is a fire or your car is submerged, you are more likely to get out quickly if you have not been severely injured in the crash.

Constitutional Exercise of Police Power for Public Health

Decisions in seat belt cases generally follow the reasoning used in many other cases involving related highway safety issues, such as laws requiring mandatory helmet use by motorcyclists and securing small children in child restraints, which view such regulations as a reasonable exercise of a state's police power in the interests of the public health and welfare.

Holy Crap Quote:

You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Abraham Lincoln

“Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity, an obligation, Every possession, a duty.”

John D. Rockefeller

Holy Crap Challenge:

Think Bigger: Notice that those resisting seat belt laws resist authority telling them what to do. Instead of thinking, “my rights”, think “my responsibility” or “my duty.” Shift your thinking. Is resisting really worth the effort?

Reach Higher: Spend your energy on what is important, which is seizing incredible opportunities, not resisting helpful action.

Do the Impossible: Collaborate with others to willingly do what others never imaged.

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