Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
I was in a couple of auto accidents when I was a young man. I wasn’t a reckless driver when I was a kid. I’d just like to think I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The most serious was when I was living in the San Francisco bay area. I was running an errand for my boss in Oakland and I was driving down a four lane road looking for an address on the left side of the street. When I looked up there was a Lincoln Continental stopped in the left lane making a turn. I was driving my mom’s Datsun, one of those Japanese cars built in the 70s out of tin foil and baling wire. As you might have guessed I had just enough time to say “oh @&%#“ before I slammed into the back of the Lincoln going 30 miles an hour. I was wearing my seatbelt, just a lap belt on that car, because it would make a really obnoxious sound if you didn’t. I ended up with a cut under my chin where it hit the steering wheel. Now I don’t know if I would have been killed in that crash, but there’s a good chance I would have slammed into the steering column if I hadn’t been wearing the seatbelt and who knows what that would have done. I do remember the EMT saying I was lucky. I will admit that accident didn’t convince me wear a seatbelt all the time. I was young and therefore immortal. I did buckle up off and on. My young niece had to shame me into wearing it once. But I now wear it all the time, partly because I’m older and supposedly wiser and because I have another vehicle that makes an obnoxious sound if I don’t. I bring that up because I was amazed this week by several stories. There were two accidents in which children were thrown from their car because they were not strapped in, one of them tragically fatal. There was also a study that shows one in five people don’t ever wear their seatbelts and that more than 60% of teenagers killed in crashes at night were not wearing their seatbelts! Look I know seatbelts can sometimes be a nuisance, but it’s time to buckle up. Lives are being saved everyday by seatbelts and people and children are losing their lives because they’re not using theirs. Please don’t give me that free agency crap. You may think you have the right to kill yourself, but there may actually be one or two people who don’t want to see you scraped off the pavement. And I’m selfish enough not to want my auto and medical insurance to go up because of it. We can debate whether Utah should have a primary or secondary seatbelt law, I believe it should be primary, but the law right now requires you to wear your seatbelt. So just do it!