Taking My Life Into My Own Hands: Having the Option to Wear a Seatbelt

By Gigi Fox


Having my mom and my sister tell me to put my seatbelt on was always a hassle. The scratchy polyester seat belt digging into my neck is always an unwanted burden. As children, we do as our parents tell us. Once you are allowed to drive at age 16, you should have the option of whether to wear a seatbelt or not, but one should always be available.

According to Seat Belt Laws in the U.S. it is said that, “Under federal law, all vehicles except buses must have a three-point restraint system.  This means a lap belt and shoulder belt must be available – and worn – by all front-seat passengers.”

A school bus is not required to offer seat belts. If school buses with hundreds of kids per day, that are on average smaller than adults, aren’t required to wear seat belts, then developed adults shouldn’t be required to wear seatbelts either.  

According to the article, And The School Bus Seat Belt Debate Lives On by Linda Poon, “Federal law only requires seat belts in school buses that weigh less than 10,000 pounds.” This means that most school buses are not required to have seatbelts. This doesn’t seem logical because cars have airbags and are an enclosed space to help protect you. Buses are open and filled with vulnerable riders. The bus driver, however, is required to wear their seatbelt. This leads the common person to wonder, how important are seat belts?

Seat belts can save lives. There is no doubt that they can’t, but to wear one or not is my choice. If I chose not to wear a seatbelt then it is my responsibility to reap the consequences if I get hurt. By all means, wear one, if you choose, but don’t tell me what I can and cannot do in my own vehicle when it does not hurt anyone else.

Motorcycles are fully exposed and are balanced on two wheels, and they don’t have seatbelts, and riders and are not required to wear helmets.

According to Traffic Safety Facts, “In 2013, there were 4,668 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes.”

Loy Norrix freshman Telise Clemente has a few reasons as to why seat belts aren’t used in certain situations.

“I think the reason why school buses don’t have seatbelts is because they’re harder to implement/more dangerous in some cases, so it’s not really valid to compare them [car seatbelts and bus/motorcycle seatbelts],” said Clemente. “For example, if you were on a motorcycle wearing a seatbelt and you got into a crash, the belt might end up strangling you or preventing you from escaping the wreckage.”

School buses and motorcycles don’t even have the option of a seatbelt. With all the technology there is now a days, it seems there shouldn’t be a problem figuring out a way to add seat belts. The choice to protect yourself or to take the risk of not wearing a seatbelt should be up to the individual. There should always be a seatbelt as an option but you shouldn’t have to use it.

According to Motorcycle helmets and seat belts: Sometimes our government should make laws that protect us from ourselves by Rob Clark, “Telling an adult they must wear a motorcycle helmet when riding does just that in the minds of many. I then posed this question: Should we also repeal the law that requires the use of seat belts? For many at the table, the answer was yes. That got me to thinking about laws and freedom and how I personally feel about those times when the two seem to intersect. I certainly respect the idea that adults should get to choose for themselves whether or not to wear a helmet or to buckle up.”

It is far more dangerous to not wear a helmet or seat belt on a motorcycle than it is to not wear a seatbelt in a car, yet the more unsafe option is the legal one.

Most of us know that familiar blink of the seatbelt sign above your seat while in an airplane. If the plane were to crash and you had your seatbelt on and survived, the damage would be severe. Tying to get your seatbelt off the traditional way would be very difficult, due to fallen debris, but there is no cutting your way through the belt because all pocket knives or blades of any kind are confiscated upon entering the airplane. This is a lose-lose situation because with or without a seatbelt you are in for a rough ride.

According to If a plane were to crash, would your seatbelt really do anything?” by Simon Grunson,  “Fundamentally the seat and seat belt will hold you at deceleration loads that will kill you anyway. If the crash is at all survivable, a seat belt is good protection.”

You are putting your life in your own hands with or without a seatbelt. The choice to control your own life, as long as your actions don’t endanger others, is justifiable.