Within a few days of seat-belts being made compulsory we have been receiving news of persons injured in car accidents because they could not move quickly enough, due to being belted-in, to avoid being crushed. And the Birmingham Evening Mail for December 13th, 1982 carried a story of how a Wolverhampton woman passenger in a 1979 Ford Cortina which was involved in a crash on the M6 was burned to death. She had been asleep at the time, the newpaper reported, and unable to release her seat-belt. The driver was able to open his door and fall out, before blacking-out; his wife was not. Verb. sap.
In another recent accident, reported the Leicester Mercury, a passenger, in a car that swerved unaccountably and hit an oncoming vehicle, was killed due to a broken neck “it being academic that in some circumstances a neck fracture could result from whiplash when wearing a seat belt”, said the Coroner. While the result might also have been fatal had the passenger not been using a seat belt, one feels that he might have liked the option, especially as neither driver was killed. . . . — W.B.