I was rather interested in your reply to H.D. Tennant’s letter in your February issue. The fact that you, as Editor of such a widely-read magazine, should show yourself as strictly anti-seat belt to your readers surprises me.
I hope that readers, like myself, see through your pathetically transparent reasons for not wearing seat belts and realise that far more people are killed and injured by automobiles in collisions than by air and railway accidents. I find your comments regarding strapping yourself in bed and keeping a fire extinguisher by your fireside childishly silly.
If you wish to follow the example of Erik Carlsson, and I believe also his wife, may I wish you the best of luck and hope, in the event of a collision, your reactions are as quick as you think and that you manage to escape being thrown through the windscreen and initialed on the steering column. I hope that you can come up with some concrete reason for not wearing a safety harness and also fool the hundreds of people who must be writing similar letters to mine, by telling us your foolproof technique of avoiding injury in the event of a collision, which could of course be caused by the “other fellow’s bad driving.”
(This is but one of several similar letters. I am astonished that I was taken so seriously and feel rather sorry for these correspondents; if they are ever involved in an accident, road or otherwise, lack of a sense of humour will surely be a considerable handicap. If seat-belts are so enormously desirable I should expect passengers in ‘buses and most certainly in express motorcoaches and taxis to be compelled by law to wear them. But I prefer to remain free to decide whether I wear them myself or foolishly trust to providence, good car qualities (such as Issigonis’ “dodgeability” or Ford GT acceleration), some few years’ driving experience, luck, and what reactions are left to me to escape unblemished from the dire perils of the road. Incidentally, I would also prefer to be cremated conventionally and not in a flaming car to which I have strapped myself. But what are Mr. Sherman and his serious sympathisers worrying about? I was asked why I do not wear seat harness. I was careful not to say anything that would stop nervous, careless, incompetent and very fast drivers from emulating trapeze artists, the more intrepid rally boys, test pilots and cosmonauts from wearing safety harness of various types should they feel the need to do so. – ED.)