Buckle that Seatbelt and Drop your Phone


I am one to testify, thinking, “those things don’t happen to those around me…it’s something you hear about on the news.” Well, it has a whole different meaning once it happens to your  family. Whether you’re just driving around the block, or just sending a text saying “sure,” IT’S. NOT. WORTH. IT. AND YOU CAN DO SOMETHING TO PREVENT THIS.

My 28 year old cousin was in a self-inflicted car accident this past summer and is going to be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life. Absolutely no other body movement other than being able to talk. Bed ridden for the rest of his life, and only able to receive sustenance through a feeding tube. He was not wearing his seat belt. He has a 10 month old baby that he will never be able to hold or play with as she grows up. While we are incredibly thankful that he survived, our family has been changed forever. If John’s SUV had a system that prevented him from pulling out of the parking lot at work without his seatbelt on that evening, perhaps he would be at the Redskins game this afternoon holding his daughter, rather than watching it on a hospital T.V. Unfortunately, it takes devastation and heartbreak to get people to put their seatbelt on or to put down their phones while driving.

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Video Transcript: 

All new cars should be required to have sensors or devices that prevent the car from starting if both the driver AND ALL passengers do not have their seatbelts on. And not just on, but on CORRECTLY. Once the car is in motion, there would be a systems that allow for hands free calling and text messaging that is voice automated and controlled. Car companies and cell phone companies will work together to essentially freeze the phone and prevent it from working by hand in the driver’s seat while the car is in drive. Yes- these features will add additional expenses to brand new cars, but these expenses are less costly than hospital bills or the devastating pain inflicted upon families affected by accidents related to phone usage or because drivers and passengers were not wearing their seatbelts. Let alone the long term care often necessary for survivors who may be paralyzed as a result of these events.

This system aims to decrease the number of accidents caused by distracted driving and will decrease the number of injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt, which will allow hospitals and ERs to have more time and money to devote to other patients with uncontrollable circumstances. Wearing a seatbelt and not using your phone while driving are both things that drivers and passengers have control over, and that can prevent their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones, from being changed forever. These systems should become standard on news cars just as backup sensors and or cameras are becoming more standard.

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8 thoughts on “Buckle that Seatbelt and Drop your Phone”

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your cousin’s accident. You video is that much more powerful with a personal connection like that. Your idea hits two birds with one stone, the problem of texting and the seat belt issue. This is a very good and feasible solution to an issue that has caused so much pain. Very well thought out. To be honest, I am surprised that this is not a feature which has been capitalized by car companies yet. It seems well worth the extra cost.

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  2. Kendall I am also surprised that this is not something that new cars do not have. I feel that it is an easy solution to a huge problem that causes so much pain to many people’s lives. I think the freezing of the phones is also a great idea. It is always very upsetting when I look over to the car next to me and see someone texting. Its not only putting their own lives at risks but the many other innocent people on the road. We can see that strides have already been made with phones and car company’s with the implementation of Bluetooth and now it is rare that a new car does not have Bluetooth. I wonder how long it will take for them to address the texting issue…

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  3. I agree with Kendall that the fact that this issue is so personal to you makes it much more powerful. Maybe the front seat could have some sort of phone sensor that won’t start the car until the driver’s phone is placed in a holster, which would hook the phone up to Bluetooth. If the phone is removed from the holster, an alarm would go off inside of the car until the phone is returned. This would also reduce that potential of texting while driving

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  4. Great idea! I’m sorry to hear about your cousins accident, but that is just another reason why this idea should be implemented. The greatest variable while driving is always the driver and the passengers. The safety features are meant to save lives, but cannot unless they are used. Your idea will not only allow to control these variables, but will also force all passengers to use the car’s safety features.

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  5. I remember seeing a similar idea on Shark Tank. I think it was called LifeBelt. I think during the episode they uncovered the reason major car companies don’t implement it into their new cars, but LifeBelt seems to have since been implemented into Gillman auto group cars. This technology might actually not be too far away!

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  6. Interesting idea to add technology to shape behavior. Many consumers would resent this “nanny state” imposition on their freedoms. Still, sometimes we need something to shape our behavior…

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