A 1976 article from a French-Canadian newspaper argues against seatbelt legislation
Many of the themes of the article are relevant today as face coverings are becoming mandatory in many places
A 1976 article published in a defunct newspaper in Quebec shows how far we’ve come when it comes to automotive safety, but it also shows that are natural resistance to change hasn’t dwindled one bit.
The article is in French, but here’s the translation.
The Seatbelt, It’s Filth!
This draft mandatory seatbelt law is in my humble opinion pure filth, a totalitarian bill, one more attack on our fundamental liberties. If someone prefers walking on all fours, that’s his business. I don’t have anything to say about it, but a law that would make it mandatory to do so I will fight with all my might.
I want to be clear. Those who want to wear a seatbelt are more than welcomed to do so as long as it remains their own choice. But, we have enough dungeons and enough swords of Damocles as well.
This law is another form of dungeon. With it, you will be at the mercy of the first bored police officer who can shove a ticket in your face for having driven 500 feet without a seatbelt to the local restaurant for your pack of cigarettes.
In the United States, vigilant organizations have succeeded in recalling seatbelt legislation. We can only hope that here in Quebec, despite being a heard of cows, we will prevent this law from being enacted.
P.S.: I want to congratulate Mr. Hardy for standing up to another ridiculous law, the “no fault” legislation. Congratulations!
And it is signed R. Borduas, Arvida. It was published on May 9, 1976 in Le Progrès-Dimanche.
Obviously, wearing a seatbelt has become customary to the point that most feel weird behind the wheel of their car if it’s not buckled. This articles reminds us all that any legislation, be it car-related or not, takes some getting used to. It also shows that we are often uninformed in the early stages of any situation requiring us to change our behavior.
The point of this article isn’t political. Here in Montreal, face coverings are now mandatory in stores and there’s nothing we can do about it. If you want to go to the store, for cigarettes or anything else, you have to wear a mask.
The point is more to highlight how driver behavior has evolved and continues to evolve. This journalist was convinced in 1976 that seatbelts were wrong and no one should be forced to wear one. I wonder how many things we are convinced of today that will be thoroughly wrong in 40 years…