Arkansas State Police has a secret. I just got a press release in my email from them that says for a couple of weeks around Memorial Day, they’ll be looking for people to be wearing their seat belts. Here’s what they didn’t say in the release… They’re always looking for it – and so are the other law enforcement agencies around here and everywhere else. They don’t look for it because they want to fine you. They look for it because the whole reason for having law enforcement is to keep people safe – from other people, but also from themselves. And since a great majority of the population has decided they want to drive something called a “motorcar,” police absolutely would be remiss to neglect this area of enforcement.
Now let me tell you something that I know about seat belts that you maybe never thought about. Keep reading to see how it might just be a great conspiracy.
It used to be that vehicles didn’t have seat belts, but we’ve come a long way with safety features. At one point in time, we had just the lap belts, but no shoulder strap. I myself owned a 1973 Datsun 240z that had only the lap belts. It really frustrated my dad, Roger Poole, because he was of course concerned about my safety. But he also had a running competition with his co-workers at Entergy (then-Arkansas Power & Light). He told them if they ever saw any of his family members driving around not wearing a seat belt, then he automatically owed them five dollars. Adjust for inflation – that’s more like $20 now. Okay, maybe 15 and some change.
But the problem here was that even if I was wearing my seat belt, people outside my car might not know it, because there was no shoulder strap. By the time I was the right age to drive a ’73 model car, it was around 12 or 13 years old, so the laws had changed and new cars were now required to have that shoulder strap. Safety became such a concern that some cars even made it near impossible to not use the shoulder strap. These days, cars will have a bell that just nags you to buckle up, but some cars in the mid-80s physically forced you to do it.
There were campaigns on television and everywhere, trying to get people to wear their seat belts. It only makes sense to do it, but it was a big deal for about a decade. I even have to wonder if there was some subliminal advertising, perpetuated by a collusion of sorts between the government and the film industry. Look at this footage of John Travolta from a a very popular feature film from 1977. I’ve taken the sound off, so you people messing around on the job can watch this too.
Ok above, Travolta is giving instructions about how to adjust your mirrors and check to be sure your headlights are on.
In this second clip above – bam – there it is… He’s showing you how to reach up and grab that metal fastener, then bring the safety strap down over your chest and buckle up.
What do you mean, “why is he doing it backwards and the shoulder strap is on the other side?”
Obviously, a) he’s a dancer, so he learned this by doing it in the mirror, and b), he’s in a movie, so he’s showing viewers how to do it as if he were standing in front of your car instructing you. Duh.
And what’s the name of this movie? “Stayin’ Alive.” Yep, that pretty much seals the deal. Put that seat belt on so you can stay alive.
You certainly have the option to decide for yourself whether to believe the promotion was a conspiracy, however, wearing your seat belt is the law and it’s a heck of a lot better than the alternative of putting your face into the dash, or worse, the windshield. Tell your passengers to buckle up too, so your headrest doesn’t get a makeover like this one below:
Here’s that press release from the Arkansas State Police, btw:
As Arkansas families begin to make plans for summertime road trips and vacations, law enforcement officers urge motorists to buckle up. State, county and city law enforcement officers will begin devoting additional patrols May 22nd through June 4th as part of the “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign.
“Our state troopers see the personal and tragic results when motorists fail to buckle-up and there are terrible injuries and loss of life,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “It’s such a simple thing, and it should be an automatic next step after sitting down in a vehicle, just buckle-up.”According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost half of the drivers and passengers killed in vehicle crashes during 2015 were not wearing a seat belt. The percentage of fatalities in this category increases during the nighttime hours.The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office urges everyone to buckle up, every trip, every time, day and night, especially during the upcoming holiday when more motorists will be on the road.Arkansas state law requires all front seat passengers, not just drivers, to buckle-up. The law requires all children, under fifteen years of age, to be properly secured in the vehicle. A child who is less than six years of age and who weighs less than sixty pounds shall be restrained in a child passenger safety seat. If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up.