Much of the world has accepted compulsory seatbelts. If you are caught without one on, you would be fined in most places. But how fair is it to mandate something that may be near useless, or downright unsafe? Most of us have not questioned our daily use of seatbelts, or how effective it really is at keeping us safe. Most of us haven’t even thought about how something so restricting could even be dangerous. 

One question I feel that more people should ask is: should we mandate a restrictive device that supposedly protects against accidents that are unlikely to lead to death? 

  1. The chances of dying in a car accident are less than 1%. Why are we mandating this if there’s such a small chance of dying?

The chance of dying in a car accident on your daily drive to work is about 1 in 107. That’s less than one percentage point! You’re more likely to die from a fall, which the odds for that cause of preventable death is 1 in 106. Why aren’t we mandating restrictive and invasive safety measures for walking on the street? It would make more sense than mandating seatbelts, as people are much more likely to die from falling on the sidewalk than crashing their car on the road. 

  1. Most people who die in motor accidents are wearing seatbelts. 

47% of people who died in a car crash in 2017 were not wearing seatbelts. That means, the majority of people who died in those car crashes (53%) were wearing the very thing that was built to protect them from death or injury in a motor vehicle accident. This raises an important question: do seat belts even work? Why would we mandate something that we aren’t sure even prevents death and injury from car crashes? Policy makers everywhere should look into this statistic. 

  1. High impact crashes can lead to serious injuries with seatbelts. Seatbelts can have terrible side effects! 

Did you know that seat belts can actually cause harm in a car crash? That’s right, a high impact crash can lead to a host of injuries if the driver or passengers were wearing a seatbelt. The seatbelt’s restriction can cause bruises, burns, cuts, abrasions, and can even fracture your ribs. A fracture in your ribs is a serious medical emergency, and can even cause death if your fractured ribs puncture your lungs. This should cause alarm for every policy maker and driver in the country. With these policy makers drafting, voting on, and passing these seatbelt mandates, drivers are being killed at the hands of these legislators. Ask yourself this: is the guise of “safety” really worth these terrible side effects?

  1. The modern seat belt has only been around for 64 years. That’s not enough time to know the long term side effects

Yes, I understand that seatbelts themselves have been around for over 200 years. But the modern, three point seat belt was invented in 1958. They have not even been around for the average US life span. I say we wait and test this modern invention a little more before we have this draconian mandate implemented. 

  1. Seat belts will trap you in your car and drown you if your car is submerged in water. 

This is just another example of how something meant to keep you safe can harm you in the end. It’s simple logic, if you restrict a driver or passenger in their vehicle, they have less of a chance of escaping a dangerous situation. These mandates will make sure that drivers drown with their vehicles. 

  1. Seat belts will trap you in your car and cause you to burn alive if your car is on fire.

It’s the same logic as the last reason. I don’t think any more has to be said. 

  1. The seat belt gives the user a false sense of security.

Seat belts can make the driver and their passengers less safe in less direct ways too. Since seat belts are touted as all protecting safety devices by your peers and experts alike, this mindset can make the driver believe that they are being safer than they actually are. This false sense of safety can make the driver engage in risky behavior and make the driver and their passengers be in more danger than if the seat belt wasn’t being used. 

  1. Seat belts can cause injuries even in less serious collisions. 

Seat belts don’t need to be used in a high impact collision in order to hurt the user. Some of the most common injuries caused by seat belts include torn shoulder tendons and muscle fibers, injuries to the soft tissue in your abdomen, painful cuts and scrapes, injury to the chest and sternum, and, of course, rib bruises and fractures. Even if the seatbelt doesn’t kill me by causing my ribs to puncture my lungs, I still don’t want other, more common injuries, regardless if those injuries don’t hospitalize or kill me. 

  1. My movement is restricted when I wear a seatbelt. That’s clearly dangerous to me as a driver.

As someone operating heavy machinery, would it not make sense for me to have a full range of movement? Strapping a driver’s body down to a seat is severely limiting, and this could be dangerous to both the driver and their passengers. It would make much more sense to give the driver space and freedom to move around, and it would be safer because the driver isn’t tied down to one place. 

  1. Seat belts are extremely uncomfortable.

Okay, this may be up to personal preference. For me, at least, seat belts are just plain uncomfortable. They dig into my neck, and when I move forward too fast the belt will tighten up and refuse to extend any further. I’ll actually have to UNCLIP the seat belt in order to make it stop restricting me! As far as I’m concerned, there’s no reason for this uncomfortable experience. 

  1. If we remove the seatbelt option in cars, it’ll bring the costs of cars down.

It’s simple economics. By using less materials, and using less labor to install those seatbelts into cars, we can reduce the cost of a single vehicle up to $150. With prices rising as fast as they are today, we must think about what sacrifices we have to make to make ends meet, and for the reasons listed previously, I think getting rid of seatbelts is a no brainer. 

  1. Freedom means freedom from the seatbelt.

This should not even be up for debate. 

There is more than enough evidence that the use of seat belts should be seriously reconsidered. There are numbers out there showing how the seatbelt may be useless, or even downright dangerous. Above all, I should be able to choose whether or not I use such a restrictive, uncomfortable device.