The use of seat belts
The use of seat belts has been in the news lately. Apparently, people in this province have slacked off on using them. I am pretty passionate about this subject. It seems like such a simple thing to do and such a waste when people die because they didn't wear one. I know people have their reasons. The belts chafe their necks, they're too restrictive and, the number one reason I hear for not wearing seat belts: that a person could get trapped inside a burning vehicle or a vehicle submerged in water. Now, let's just consider the odds of that shall we? I'm no statistician but I'm pretty sure you're a lot more likely to be saved by a seat belt in a collision or rollover accident than you are to be trapped in a burning or submerged car. And, even if you are trapped in a car, at least you have a chance someone can cut you out. No such chance when your skull has exploded against a tree or the vehicle you were riding in has landed on top of you after you've been ejected. And if you really think that this is a high probability, you can buy seat belt cutters to attach to your dash.
I have two main reasons I believe in the use of seat belts. The first is because my life was saved when I used mine. It was a few years back. The accident involved a moose and the truck I was in ended up flying through the air for a bit. I was slightly injured in the accident. The cause of my injuries, badly bruised ribs and a cut on my neck, was my seat belt. But when a seat belt causes your injuries, it's because it stopped you while you were moving forward with such force that bringing up on the seat belt damaged your body. And if the seat belt didn't stop me from moving forward with such force, the police didn't think the windshield would have either. They told me that I would have died without the seat belt, not "probably" or "most likely" but "would have", and I believed them. I don't go two feet without wearing my seat belt now. When I ride on the passenger side, where I was that night, I often feel like the seat belt is lying right where my neck was cut and I try to find ways for it not to touch the skin on my neck (by putting it under my collar or by using one of those seat belt pads), but I would never think of not wearing the seat belt.
The other main reason I believe in seat belts comes from a story I saw on the news years ago. A state trooper who worked on a very busy highway and had been at the scene of hundreds of accidents was being interviewed about seat belt use. It was on in the background while I was doing something else but what he said stopped me cold. His simple words were as profound as anything I'd ever heard: "I've never unbuckled a dead man". According to the Internet, this phrase seems to be a fairly common thing for cops to say. But there's a reason for that.
My three-year-old, while playing the other day, heard a news report that said someone had not been wearing a seat belt. "Mommy, why would someone not wear a seat belt?" he asked me. "I don't know," I answered. "That's silly," he said. I couldn't have said it better.