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There's a reason that there are seat belt laws, and this illustrates why. I lost a good friend who was told by the salesman who sold him his brand new 1988 Thunderbird that, since the car had an airbag, he didn't need to wear a seat belt anymore. I did my best to convince him otherwise, but he just wanted an excuse to get out of having to wear it. About 3 months after buying the car, the Philadelphia area was nailed with a major ice storm. We worked third shift, so when he left work at 5 AM, I asked him once again to "please, wear your seat belt". He didn't listen. This is the story I heard later on from a friend on the local Police force: He went around a curve too fast for conditions, the rear end came around and went into the roadside gully, and the car snap-rolled. It went over so fast that he was thrown halfway through the closed window, and the roof decapitated him.

A childhood friend of mine was born with badly bowed legs. He spent many years in leg braces to straighten them. He got his driver's license only a couple of months after turning 16, and that night borrowed his mom's Subaru. He got to hot-dogging with a buddy of his and got in over his head, rolling the car. Of course he wasn't wearing his seat belt and was ejected through the open window. The car rolled onto his legs, badly mangling them. He spent the next several years back in leg braces. Miraculously, he walks without a limp today. And he ALWAYS wears his seat belt.
 

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More than flying out of the sunroof, I'm surprised that guy got up with seemingly no injury after being slammed to ground with such impact.
 

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There's a reason that there are seat belt laws, and this illustrates why. I lost a good friend who was told by the salesman who sold him his brand new 1988 Thunderbird that, since the car had an airbag, he didn't need to wear a seat belt anymore. I did my best to convince him otherwise, but he just wanted an excuse to get out of having to wear it.
Jim, I'm sorry that you lost a friend who chose not to wear his seatbelt, but I must take issue with one of your statements.

I worked in and around car dealerships from 1975 until recently. With all the sales safety training that went on in dealerships I find it very hard to believe that a salesman would ever tell your friend (or any new car owner) that "since the car had an airbag, he didn't need to wear a seat belt anymore." An airbag was always termed a "supplemental restraint system", by the factories, to be used in conjunction with the seat belts. All Ford and GM and Mopar salesmen had to undergo mandatory safety sales training, sales brochures contained this safety statement and the owners manuals all had sections dedicated to the explanation of SRS.

In any case we are all guided by our own free will, intelligence and freedom of choice to wear or not wear a seat belt. As you state your friend "just wanted an excuse to get out of having to wear it." That, unfortunately, was the choice he made...

:wave:
 

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Mike made no bones about the fact that he hated wearing a seat belt. I think the salesman was trying to make the sale via whatever tactic it called for. If that meant putting someone's life at risk, so be it. Sadly, there ARE unscrupulous car saalesmen out there who would do things like that to see their name on the "Salesman Of The Month" plaque. I live in dread of the same thing happening again, since my best friend at work NEVER wears his belt. He's the father of two grown kids, a teenager, and a 9 year old. I fnd it hard to believe that he sets such a terrable example for the two still at home, although he says he makes sure they wear theirs.

I fully understand about air bags being "Supplimental", but it still amazes me that so many people do not. Seat belts are the law of the land - as far as I know, they're mandatory in all 50 states. Personally, I wouldn't mind being legally able to take the bags out of my car (or at least the explosive charges that blow them up). I've always worn my seat belt, going back to my first car trip in one of those primitive 1960's child seats. My dad installed seat belts in the first car he bought upon returning from serving in the Army during the Korean War. He was stationed behind the lines (He was an accountant in Tokyo - he was the guy who sent out the pay vouchers to the troops!), and learned to fly in the base's flying club. He bought a set of surplus spotter aircraft seat belts and installed them in his brand new 1953 Chevy Bel Air. From that time on, if a car he bought didn't have belts, he bought them and installed them. Starting in about 1955, they were available at many car parts chains like Pep Boys. I remember the ones in my first car, a hand-me-down, base model 1965 Chevy II sedan that my grandmother bought new, had tags on them saying they were made for Sears, Roebuck, and Co. My grandmother wanted to be sure her grandkids would be safe riding with her, so she had my dad put belts in the middle of the front seat and all three seats across the back. The driver's seat and right front passenger seat already had belts by federal law. When I got the car in September of 1979, I also installed shoulder harnesses in the front seat.
 
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