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.
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.