There is overwhelming proof that buckling up while driving can save your life in the event of an accident. Most people would agree that wearing a seat-belt is a sensible thing to do, let alone that it is law.
But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, seat-belts in cars were not compulsory until the late 90s in the United States and here in South Africa. However, introducing the law didn’t change people’s behaviour much. Before, it was an insult to put on your seat-belt as a passenger. Do you not trust their driving?
Buckling up was ‘uncool’.
It has taken a long time to become cool. A generation has now experienced life where seat-belts are the norm. More and more people who saw the law as being sensible, told and showed others to do the same. As more and more young people become young parents, so the acceptance increased.
It has now reached a stage where it is self-policed. If you see a child standing on the front passenger seat of another car in the traffic, there will be many drivers trying to get their attention to reprimand them and get them to buckle the child up!
It could be seen as a small thing or be too nuanced to call. To me, there has been a shift in the national psyche from ignorant to sensible. Swedish car manufacturer Volvo, is credited as being the first to install seat-belts in their cars in the late 50s. 50 years later, and acceptance, although not complete, is universal.
That’s not nuanced, that’s a seismic shift.
Buckling up is no longer only the law, it’s what anyone who cares does.
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on July 26, 2020.