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Seatbelts Redux

Apparently the news (?) that fat people don't wear seatbelts because they don't freaking fit us is making the rounds again.

Here's our coverage from a few months back.

The best part? This version of the article featured a Weight Watchers ad for me. Hey, thanks!

Torrid and MTV: You've Got Such a Pretty Face! | Congratulations

Viola's picture
Viola
May 19th, 2008 | Link | Apparently pregnant women

Apparently pregnant women are less likely to wear seatbelts also, citing they are uncomfortable. So they make a different kind of seatbelt for pregnant women that goes over each thigh. The weird thing about that is that even when really pregnant, my issue with the seatbelt was not how it felt on my abdomen, but where it fit on my neck. In the photograph she is holding the seatbelt where it goes over the shoulder, but it reminds me of when I was constantly pulling it off my neck. In fact, I still do that. The seatbelt not fitting me properly isn't because it won't fit over my stomach, it's because I don't want the darn thing practically on my windpipe. I wear my seatbelt anyway, but I have no doubt that I would probably have a serious neck injury if I got into an accident, even though I am always pulling it away and putting it on my shoulder.

Moody Blue's picture
Moody Blue
May 19th, 2008 | Link | Little People also have

Little People also have problems with seat belts as well as air bags. Should we ban them from driving? Perhaps we should make sure they're sterilized so they can't produce more Little People? After all, dwarfism is fully preventable in this day and age, no??

vesta44's picture
vesta44
May 19th, 2008 | Link | When I wear my seatbelt, I

When I wear my seatbelt, I end up putting the shoulder harness part of it behind me just so it doesn't choke me. I got one of those adjusters that clips the shoulder harness to the lap part of the belt, but it's plastic and I really don't think it will hold up to my weight in an accident. If I don't go through the windshield, the shoulder harness could decapitate me or choke me to death. Either way, I'm dead.

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

MReap May 19th, 2008 | Link | "...not only are obese

"...not only are obese people more likely to die or be severely injured in a car accident because of the negative health consequences of being overweight,..."

How about the negative health consequences of BEING IN A FREAKING AUTO ACCIDENT? I guess I tore my Achilles tendon in a rollover on an icy road because I was fat. I was wearing a seatbelt, btw.

Teh stoopid, it burns.

GenXintrovert73's picture
GenXintrovert73
May 21st, 2008 | Link | Hello all, I'm new here and

Hello all,

I'm new here and just wanted to say hi but also to respond to this issue that I have with being choked while driving/riding in a car due to the seatbelt fitting in all the wrong places. My second problem with seatbelts,(that ticks me off) is because I am very tall and have long legs, when I push the seat back to accomodate my legs, it somehow gives me less belt to work with so the damn thing doesn't fit. I guess seatbelts aren't regulated in the sense of being the same for all cars cause I don't seem to have problems in some models whereas I have issues in others. Oh well.

Jenny R.

lilacsigil May 19th, 2008 | Link | Help for Viola!

I bought a new car and found that the seatbelt went right across my throat. I could adjust it, but when I was braking (the time I really need to concentrate) it would cross my throat again and choke me. I then bought a seatbelt adjuster and even though I had to pay $20 to have it shipped from the US, it has changed my driving experience drastically. Yesterday I had a four-hour drive and didn't have to fiddle with my seatbelt once. It was fantastic. (I'm about 5'7" and 300 pound BTW - the length wasn't an issue for me, but the placement of the belt was).

sarahj May 20th, 2008 | Link | The state of Michigan is

The state of Michigan is going into hyper mode over people wearing seat belts right now. This is probably why the issue has been brought up again.

Bilt4Cmfrt's picture
Bilt4Cmfrt
May 20th, 2008 | Link | Definitely an issue here.

Definitely an issue here. I'm also not into being choked out while I'm driving and have several 'driving without belt' tickets to prove it. I also got one of those plastic belt adjusters. It worked, fairly well in fact when I was driving, but it would usually end up in the sunglass holder when my wife or someone else got in the car and took way too long for me to track down, get it back onto the belt, and then adjust it to where the belt didn't fell like it was sawing away at my jugular. Bottom line; It's now floating around under one of the car seats somewhere being completely useless and I'm back to not wearing a belt.

As for a four-point restraint, I've always wondered why they weren't instituted rather than dealing with all the complicated engineering challenges creating airbags represented. Someone once told me a good engineer loves to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) so I don't get it. Unless, of course, it was a question of esthetics. You know, Big Auto deciding that consumers wouldn't want to be bothered with 'too much' seat belt.

Wrong again Boys. Gimme a four point restraint and, I for one, will use it.

richie79's picture
richie79
May 20th, 2008 | Link | In the UK it's been

In the UK it's been compulsory to wear a seatbelt since the early 80s, to the point where it's one of the grounds on which a traffic cop can pull you over if they think you're not. And I think similar rules apply across most of Europe (where most of the vehicles sold in Britain originate).

As a result seatbelts here seem to be pretty generous and certainly I've never heard of this being an issue, which makes me wonder if it is the 40 year-old US safety standards which need to be tightened in order to force manufacturers to provide more than a basic level of equipment. I know that in many states seatbelt use is not a legal requirement, but the option should nevertheless be provided.

Kudos to Ford for going beyond the minimum requirements; boos to the article commentators who seem to basically support the death penalty (unrestrained in a car crash) for the heinous crime of Driving Whilst Fat. Maybe they'd change their minds if hit by a 400lb person who'd just been thrown through the screen for want of a few feet of webbing.

Netekay May 20th, 2008 | Link | I was in a very serious car

I was in a very serious car accident in 1989. Ironically, had I been wearing my seat belt, I would have been killed. The car rolled down an embankment and the roof collapsed, flattening the car. I was ejected from the car and it was my fat that protected my insides and saved my life.

The reason for not wearing the belt...it was too small. I know that I was lucky, and I do wear my belt now, but they need to update the standards!

Gee, can't wait to go new car shopping!!!!

Moody Blue's picture
Moody Blue
May 21st, 2008 | Link | You're right. I have to keep

You're right. I have to keep pushing the damned thing down because it keeps riding up. Well, I figure if the seabelt doesn't get me, the air bag certainly will because there's no way there's 10" between me and the steering wheel.

levye May 21st, 2008 | Link | does anyone else?

Does anyone else have a problem of the belt, when a seatbelt extender is used, going across the middle of the torso. This is very dangerous to the internal organs, and I often wonder if it is worth it to wear my belt. I wish they would design belts differently so that this could be adjusted, but I don't think there is a way to do it.

Kunoichi May 21st, 2008 | Link | Our car allows us to adjust

Our car allows us to adjust the height of the shoulder belt at the frame by about 6-8 inches. I keep it at the lowest setting, and it makes a huge difference. It still rubs my neck, sometimes, but I don't get choked out anymore. I'm 5'4". My husband is 6'1" and he doesn't bother raising it back up again, as he finds it comfortable lower, too.

We drive a '99 Mercury Mystique.

JeanC's picture
JeanC
May 21st, 2008 | Link | Our car has the height

Our car has the height adjustment also, so that helps some. I need to find the adjuster clip and get that put back on as my seat belt still tries to cut my throat even on the lowest setting. Darned clip pooped off one day and I haven't gotten around to finding it.

The one problem with the clip is it puts the belt across my stomach instead of across my pelvis Sad

Moody Blue's picture
Moody Blue
May 21st, 2008 | Link | I was trying to reply to

I was trying to reply to levye, but the "reply" link took me to the wrong place. Sticking out tongue

TheBitterEnd May 29th, 2008 | Link | I have this issue when

I have this issue when flying.

I ask the attendent BEFORE I am seated for an extender and she huffs while searching for one.

I remember sitting next to this woman on a plane a year ago and she was having the seatbelt issue and she was mortified that she couldn't clasp her belt. She was ashamed to ask the attendent so I got up and got her one.

Then I told her to never be ashamed or make excuses for your size. Be upset that the belts aren't big enough in the first place and act as though YOU are the one being inconvienieced.

Send me the pillow ...
The one that you dream on ...

secondhelpinglaura's picture
secondhelpinglaura
May 29th, 2008 | Link | Don't remind me. I have to

Don't remind me. I have to fly tomorrow...on Southwest! Hopefully they'll be underbooked.

*fingers crossed*

GenXintrovert73's picture
GenXintrovert73
June 2nd, 2008 | Link | I've flown Southwest before

I've flown Southwest before and they're really good about giving seatbelt extenders, I think their attitude is hurry up and give one and then deal with this packed plane!!! Smiling BTW, I love their boarding system.

********************************************************************************
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of
comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge
and controversy.

LWalker June 2nd, 2008 | Link | I think it's a great idea to

I think it's a great idea to purchase your own seatbelt extender to take onto a flight. I purchased mine off of eBay for $9.95.

On that note, seatbelts are problematic for me, too, but I am grateful to have in my car shoulder adjustment levers on both driver's and passenger side seats as well as a power seat height adjustment button on the driver's side as well as a telescopic wheel, and all these combined help tremendously.

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