Friday, October 15, 2021

Snake Oil: Seatbelts and COVID

In 1970 Victoria became the first state in the western world to introduce laws making the use of seatbelt in cars compulsory. within year and a half the other Australian states followed suit and by 1977, 90% of motorist were wearing seatbelts. Why? Because they recognized that although wearing a seatbelt could be something of an inconvenience, it also prevents death and more serious injury in the event of a car accident.  

"The Australian experience supports the view that legislation for compulsory wearing of seatbelts is the single most effective method available for the protection of vehicle occupants in road crashes."(1)

Seatbelts were first offered in vehicles by Nash in 1949, followed by Ford in 1955, but American buyers didn't initially want cars with seatbelts because they believed that needing to install a seatbelt meant the car itself wasn't safe. Apparently safety did not sell. It does now, but not back then.

The first sash seatbelts weren't much chop, and actually caused injuries in some cases but the technology continued to improve with Volvo introducing the three point belt, then later the advent of the pretensioner was brought to us by Daimler-Benz.

We, both motorists and passengers, exercise faith when we use motor vehicles. Time has proven we can trust manufacturers to make safe vehicles, but they can't do anything about dangerous or incompetent drivers. We have licensing, registration, and training to help with that of course, but when you're driving you can really only hope that other drivers are licensed and they know what they're doing.

The mandatory use of seatbelts is just one of numerous examples of governments acting to protect their citizens. There was no conspiracy to restrict our freedom or inconvenience us. The purpose was keeping us safe. Governments still run advertising campaigns to remind people to belt up when they get in car even though most of us do it automatically. Despite the initial protests and concerns, we got used to seatbelts. And they work.

Call it a long bow if you like, but I can't see any difference between seatbelts and COVID vaccinations and precautions. Governments around the world want people to get vaccinated to keep us safe. Seatbelts, vehicle testing and registration, driver training and licensing, and speed limits are all designed to keep us safe. Most people accept this, not as evidence of totalitarianism, but of natural and acceptable paternalism. Don't we want the government to keep us safe? Lockdowns, check ins, face masks, and vaccinations are not evidence of a conspiracy to control and repress us. The purpose is to keep us safe. In my opinion to see more in it than that, is to enter the realm of paranoia.

I'm double vaccinated and will happily display by certificate before being granted entry into a restaurant. When I drive, I would like to know the other drivers are licensed, and it's no different in the restaurant, I would like to know if my fellow diners are also vaccinated. I want to be safe. Who doesn't?

I have friends who have been pushing various conspiracies theories on me, and others, since the pandemic turned the world upside down early in 2020. I've never bought into it and I'm not about to. I've seen fear take the steering wheel of so many people's lives. I'm not doing that either. I've never been afraid, nor will I be. I'll do what I'm told regarding COVID rules. I don't like the inconvenience and I am definitely not a fan of wearing a face mask, but I'm taking reasonable precautions and following the advice of experts to stay safe, including getting vaccination.

COVID conspiracies are snake oil.

Source: (1) 



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