TIL mandated seatbelt interlock systems, requiring the driver to first be seated and then buckle up before the car was able to start, decreased seatbelt usage as drivers disabled the system in the early 70s in the US

Read more: https://nap.nationalacademies.org/read/10832/chapter/5

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  1. I’m pretty sure my grandfather’s Barracuda had something like this. But I feel like he would just lift his ass off the seat and he could crank it up without the seatbelt fastened. If there was a passenger in the front seat, they had to do the same. He considered it more of an anti-theft feature than a safety feature.

  2. Have you been in a car that advances the seatbelt toward you without your consent? I love my seatbelt and feel naked without it, but those seatbelts were aggressive. Lol

  3. Initially, the interlock system increased seatbelt usage. But drivers found it intrusive, and were unable to start their car just to idle it or move it slowly a short distance, so many disabled the system and then didn’t wear the seatbelt at all.

    The reminder system mandate that replaced the interlock has studies with conflicting results over effectiveness, and was designed arbitrarily without any testing or scientific basis. The reminder system requires the seatbelt light on the dashboard to remain lit for 4–8 seconds *every* time the car is started, regardless of whether the belt was fastened; if the belt was *not* buckled upon starting, a chime or buzzer must sound for the same amount of time the reminder light is on. Buckling or unbuckling after that has no effect.

    New rules wouldn’t come in to effect until relatively recently.

    I learned this out of curiosity after noticing 2 cars I’ve owned seem to have the bare minimum reminder system in place (a 1987 Thunderbird and a 1998 Forester; being over a decade apart it surprised me, since I’ve seen many better systems on vehicles in between).

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