A 1980s video about seatbelts becoming mandatory has resurfaced as it sounds all too familiar amid COVID mask and vaccine mandates
Sometimes, watching history repeat itself can feel like an out-of-body experience. Such is the case with this video shared by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, reminding people that no matter what you do, some people just don’t get it.
A video of news footage from 1986 shows people complaining that new laws requiring seatbelts got similar responses to those being asked to wear masks or get vaccinated today — you know — because it impacts their “personal freedoms.” Noah said, “Hmmm… sound familiar? All the complaints about seat belts back then, are the same things you hear about vaccines.” He’s not wrong.
The clip, dug up and aired by The Daily Show, has now gone viral because it’s eerily similar to how people are acting today. In the clip, a Florida highway patrol officer can be heard saying that he’s heard people refusing to wear seat belts because they are “uncomfortable, wrinkle their clothes, and because they aren’t cool.” Basically video proof that Florida has always been Florida.
Other people interviewed had similar opinions. “There’s no freedom no more. If you don’t want to wear it, that’s your choice,” another driver said. “I’ll have to detour the town to get to Kalamazoo if they pass this law,” one Michigan man said. Another chimed in: “I wouldn’t wear a seat belt. If I get caught, I get caught I guess.”
Looking back, it’s sort of crazy how people felt about wearing seatbelt, a device that could literally save their lives. When used properly, seatbelts reduce motor vehicle fatalities by half, according to the CDC. People who choose not to wear a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a car if they experience a crash. I’m sure some would argue that it’s only impacting those who suffer the consequence by dying or becoming severely disabled except for the impact to hospitals, doctors, ICUs, insurance premiums, funeral costs, and those grieving friends and family left behind.
Masks, on the other hand, can save other people’s lives by not spreading a contagious virus that’s already claimed the lives of over 650,000 Americans (and killing more than ten times the number of people per year than car accidents).
I’d hesitate to think of any parent who would put their child into a car without a seatbelt, yet they continue to actively protest them wearing a mask.
New York was the first state to require seat belts for front seat drivers in 1984, and all but one state requires them today. While many are protesting government or state issued mandates regarding masks or vaccines, it’s clear the same for seatbelts resulted in our collective betterment and safety as a society.
“Any mandate, no matter how much it seems like common sense to some people, is gonna make other people really mad,” Noah said.
Sounds about right.