Driving down the road we don’t usually think, “I’m fine because I’m buckled in,” or “I’d feel safer if my belt were on.” If we think about wearing a safety belt at all it’s usually because we don’t want to be stopped by the police for not wearing one. We think of the money getting stopped is going to cost us and not of the health and safety reason why we should buckle up.

Recently a six-year study found that of 200,000 fatal passenger vehicle crashes, people who were of larger than normal weight were 66% more likely not to be wearing a seat belt. The safety standard for seat belts went into affect in the 1960’s. At the time seat belts were required to service people up to 215 pounds. Today’s American population has grown not only in size of population but in physical girth as well. We’ve reached beyond the 215-pound capacity seat belt and now passengers find it difficult to near impossible to put the belt on.

We don’t need new laws. What we need to do is adjust the regulatory needs of the safety belt so that people who are larger will be safe.

Source: Chicago Tribune – Sunday, February 2, 2014 – Section 1, Page 24

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