"Click It or Ticket." Sure it's cute and fun to say...but is it working? Are they really getting the right statistics when they tally those "Oh, seat belt use has increased by X amount since we've implemented this policy" figures up? Let's take a look, shall we?
A policeman pulls someone over for running a red light or speeding. What's the first thing they do...other than hide the gun if this is happening in LA? Well, if they're not wearing a seatbelt, you can bet they reach over and put it on. There's some kind of seatbelt or DUI check-point up ahead (which, I've only ever witnessed once in my life and it was in Herndon, Virginia)...uh oh...let's all put our seatbelts on. "Well, seems everyone's all buckled up in this vehicle...carry on." Oh, those tactics work so well don't they? Of COURSE seatbelt use is up if you go by those things. How about we consider a couple more stealthier ways to find out...and possibly save some lives plus get some revenue in for the towns while we're at it.
Cameras at toll booths. Case in point...we had recently gone over the toll bridge (or is it just a road really) that crosses from Prattville into Montgomery, and in front of us was a car with two adults in the two front seats and a child bopping around in the front between them and a couple more in the back, clearly all not restrained. The child's actions in the front made Britney Spears' "baby-holding" driving fiasco look totally innocuous by comparison. We mentioned something about it to the toll booth guy, and he commented that he had once casually suggested to someone passing thru that perhaps they should buckle their children in. They complained...and he was warned never to do it again or it was his job. So, here's a guy, trying to do the right thing and he gets read the riot act. I think he should be able to press a button, take a photo and then pass it along to the proper authorities. Of course, after a while...people who never buckle their kids in will hear there are cameras at the toll booths and they will "click-it...to avoid the ticket"...then their kids will just un-pop themselves after the "all clear" signal is given. But at least it might catch the ones who don't even have baby seats IN their cars.
Cameras at school parking lots. You can't count the number of times I've seen people driving thru the pick-up line with their babies on their laps...and how many kids I see get into the front seat where they aren't supposed to be sitting due to the airbag...and how many ride off without any seatbelts on at all. And airbags exploding with their extreme force, even at a low-speed impact, can lead to decapitation. I told this fact to a parent one day whose little girl was in the front seat of the car while they were about to pull out. Oh...if looks could kill, I would be long dead. She promptly told me where to get off...and to mind my own business as it was HER child. Well, ya know what? I don't think that being a parent gives you carte blanche to play God with your child's life. That whole "I brought you into this world...and I can take you out" mentality just isn't appropriate here. In a 'Cosby' sitcom when "Cliff Huxtable" is lecturing "Theo" about something up in his bedroom...it's funny and fits...in a real life-or-death situation, it just SHOULDN'T apply.
I should be able, as a concerned individual, to report this person. There should be some type of hotline that people could call...oh, I realize the Montgomery police are busy...but perhaps someone in authority pulling this woman (and all those other infractors) over and giving her the 3rd degree MIGHT sink in. I bet she wouldn't tell the cop to butt out. Did you guess by now that I have a major issue with this subject when it comes to children? I certainly do.
First off, a child cannot make rational decisions about their safety inside a motor vehicle...the adult in the car makes and enforces the rules...and as such, they should be held 100% accountable for their actions. Whenever I drive children on field trips...without fail, there is always one...sometimes two, who do not put their seatbelt on or on correctly...and when confronted, I'm told "my parents don't make me wear them". Well, they wear them in my van or we don't move.
Secondly, do these non-seatbelt-wearing people have any clue the guilt they'd inflict on another person in case an accident happened? I'll explain this concept a little: If I were to somehow be party to an accident, either my fault or another's...and someone went flying thru the windshield or got all smashed up inside the car due to their not wearing proper restraints, I don't even want to think how I'd deal with it. I ran over a squirrel once and saw it flopping around in my rear-view mirror...I can't imagine dealing with the death of a human being...especially a child. No one has the right to subject someone to that when it possibly could be avoided. No one has the right to subject their own child (or someone else's) to the possibility of an increased death risk each time they get into the car by not enforcing seatbelt usage.
A new report due out Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that more than 6 in 10 people between the ages of 8-44 who were killed inside a passenger vehicle were not restrained. (Okay, I have a little problem with that statement...if it's "more than 6 in 10"...is it 7? Is it 8? Or is it 6.25? You'd figure they'd be able to pinpoint it.) That's a whole lot of people not wearing a seatbelt if you ask me...much more than previously thought. The NHTSA figures 48 million people do not routinely use seatbelts when they are on the road.
The "Click It or Ticket" campaign kicks off May 22nd and runs thru June 4th...complete with roadside checks and their goal to boost seatbelt awareness. Well, maybe those advertisements need to show a little gore instead of a cutesy slogan...like those Meth ones do. Maybe a real accident-based commercial with a disturbing visual and the voiceover "I brought you into this world...and I can take you out" added...just might get the point across. Maybe.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".