I am a baby boomer, a product of the 1960’s. My Father and Mother were both from lower middle class families. Rising above, my Father’s success measured in new cars. Like that ’68 Toronado convertible with an 8-Track tape player, blasting the Ventures. One thing different about this new car is that it had seat belts. But they were cloth, lap seat belts that were always conveniently tucked down into the seat. My Mom’s arm was our seat belt, and she can still pack a wallop today! My Father used to call her the seat belt. Later in life, he would refer to her as the airbag. In fact, since 1966, laws were put in place that required automobile manufacturers to make seat belts a standard feature in all cars produced. However, federal law did not require that drivers and passengers use seat belts or assess punitive measures for those who did not. Prior to 1984, safety was an “option.” New York became the first state to pass seat belt laws. And later, other states followed suit. Thank you, Ralph Nader. I think I voted for you once.

Yes, we baby boomers grew up in a time of social change. It was a time of free love, countercultural values and safety actually being an “option.” Where was the logic? Prior to seat belt laws, we had steel dashboards covered in a paper-thin layer of vinyl. You could actually stand up on the seat if you were small enough. Most of my cousins wear “bangs” to cover a nasty permanent scar as a result. Heck, we would ride in the back window of the car, like a Beanie Baby.

And what safety options are there today? There are too many to list. But, to name a few, we have airbags, anti-lock brakes and sensors for tailgating, drifting, blind spots and hydroplaning. Laws require car seats and booster seats for kids as well. We’ve come a long way.

So, do the right thing. Buckle up your passengers, your kids and yourself. So you and your passengers can live to a ripe old age like the rest of we baby boomers, including George Clooney, Ricky Gervais, Sting, Madonna, Stephen Tyler and Barack Obama.

Until next week…buckle up.

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Seat Belt Laws – Comedy Defensive Driving