Seat-belt Compulsion


While agreeing with your comments regarding compulsion on safety belts, please be more positive in asking your readers to develop the safety belt habit. If you do then we might be successful in avoiding the nonsense now being fitted to American cars.

Having just returned from a visit to the USA I was horrified with the so-called safety aids which are now obligatory on new cars. Very poor quality and design seat belts (i.e. two hands needed for fitting and release) are gttached to raucous buzzers and to the ignition circuit. Some combination of weight on the seat and connection of the buckle must be achieved before either the buzzer will stop *r the car start. Keeping the belt fastened round the seat doesn’t help and parcels on the front seat must literally be strapped in before the engine can be started. There is a good trade in spare buckles which form part of elaborate methods of fooling the system.

Since all the belts are inertia reel of a type which must be returned completely to the reel before they can be pulled further out the whole procedure can take several very frustrating minutes. Imagine all this just to Set the car where you can reach it with the hose or to get the lawn mower out.

The politicians like it since it gives the impression of concern and action, the manufacturers like it since it gives the chance of higher prices and increased margins while service stations like it since the equipment is unreliable and they can charge a small fortune to repair it. So while lots of people are happy about it nothing is being done about encouraging safety while driving.

Good luck for the next 50 years.

London, SW19 A. P. Covill

[WHich is just the sort of nonsense that compulsory use of seat belts could bring to us in Britain.—ED.]