By: Jim Dittmann
Well here we are: Volume 2 Issue 3
Driving south on Spring Street – In my ‘86 periwinkle blue Volvo wagon – last week of April – very nice late afternoon. I’m just rolling by the community theatre building when my attention is drawn right – coming out of the bank – one of those BAD ASS black & whites of the Beaver Dam Police Department. Those new cars are really awesome – my compliments to the designers. Then suddenly I find myself eyeball to eyeball with the officer – he smiles respectfully and I nod my approval. Less than a nanosecond later – the “LIGHTS” are on and the ‘86 dutifully pulled over to make room for the pursuit – only one problem… So there I am – middle of downtown strobes a flashing for all to see!
Officer approaches and I’m thinking – what the heck did I do? “Good afternoon sir,” says the sarge, “Do you have a license with you today?” – I immediately comply, “May I have a phone number?” – “So, what did I do?” – “No seatbelt,” the sergeant replies with a cordial, but almost forgiving smile. Following what seemed like an eternity in the “LIGHTS” he returns with my citation – $10 fine!
Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seat belt – not the first but the modern seat belt – now a standard safety device in most cars. Volvo first introduced Nils Bohlin’s lap-and-shoulder belt in 1959. There I was in my ‘86 Volvo unbuckled – Nils would be disappointed!
You know – it’s kind of been my routine to not “buckle up.” Don’t mean to embarrass anyone (I’ve had enough all on my own) especially my wife – but you see she’s been kindly reminding me about this for a long time – “Don’t even turn on the car until you are buckled!” She’s right…
I’m delighted to report that I’m finding myself buckled far more often these days and have concluded through my experience – humbling as it has been – it’s for the better. It also got me noticing other drivers who are not buckled – these are not solid statistics but my early observations have it at about 30% no belts. NHTSA says usage is 83% for the Midwest – interesting.
We complain about government intervention – in this case it’s for the good of all. Think about the first responders – health care professionals – family members who may need to come to your rescue should you have an accident – injuries will be far greater if you’re not “buckled up!”
So, take it from a reformed non-compliant – give yourself a hug!
Also: Wear your headgear when you go for that bike ride – don’t be selfish – think of the caregivers. Thanks “sarge” for the most well-delivered reprimand I’ve had in a while – my wife and family thank you as well..
p.s. The periwinkle blue Volvo has been bequeathed to my daughter. I know she buckles XOXO! Nils would be proud!