Montana Outdoors

January 30, 2009


Back in the middle 70’s the company for which I worked furnished me with a company car. It was one of the early Cadillac Eldorados, large, and long, and heavy, and iridescent brown with a vinyl covered top and moon roof. It also had air bags, one of the first cars in the Phoenix Arizona area that was so equipped. That was hot stuff back then and I was informed that if I were in an accident with it there would be an extensive investigation and a lot of publicity, because it would be one of the first cars so tested.

The conventional wisdom in those days, unsubstantiated by anyone who understood what automobile safety was all about, was that with those bags, you no longer needed seat belts because the bags would keep you from striking the dashboard or being thrown through the windshield and therefore you were safe. The truth of the matter was thereby greatly distorted.

Tonight I responded with our Rural Fire Department team to an accident scene where all we could do was to recover a man’s body…. 50 feet from where the remains of his truck came to rest on its side. He was a big man, we noticed, as we carried his body up the hillside to the coroner’s van. If he had used his seat belt, there was a very good chance he would have lived. He did not and he was thrown out, rolled over by his truck, and whatever hopes he might have had for a long and happy life quickly ended a hundred feet from the highway on a rocky hillside on a very dark and cold night.

You’ve all got them in your cars, folks. Take a couple of seconds every time you start up and make them go “click”!

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