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Top 10 Excuses for Not Buckling Up

Below are the top 10 excuses officers in Delaware hear for not buckling up, along with responses. GHSA frequently hears similar excuses from highway safety offices and law enforcement across the nation. Thanks to the Delaware Office of Highway Safety for sharing this information.

  1. I'm afraid of getting stuck in a crashed car. If you're not buckled up at the time of a crash, you're more likely to be killed or knocked unconscious and unable to get out of the car at all. I you are buckled up, you're more likely to stay in place and remain conscious, in control of the vehicle, and able to make smart decisions.
  2. It irritates the skin on my neck or chest. Most newer vehicles have adjustable shoulder height positioners that let you to move the shoulder belt up or down for a more comfortable fit. In older cars, wear clothes with a higher neck to provide some extra padding.
  3. It makes me feel restrained. That's what it's supposed to do. In a crash, it keeps you in your seat so you won't be thrown around or out of the vehicle where you're four times more likely to be killed than if you remain the car. Driver side seat belts are designed to allow free movement of the occupant until a crash occurs (or until you jam on your breaks!).
  4. I'm too large to wear a seat belt. It doesn't fit. You can purchase a seat belt extender, which can usually resolve this issue.
  5. I can't look over my shoulder before turns. Yes, you can. A seat belt doesn't restrain your head; it restrains your chest.
  6. I forgot. Most cars have annoying seat belt reminder systems that beep every minute or so when the seat belt isn't buckled.
  7. Nobody tells me what to do in my car. States have many traffic laws that mandate what people can or cannot do. It's illegal to drive drunk; it's illegal to speed; and it's illegal to drive or ride without a seat belt.
  8. I have an air bag. I don't need a seat belt. Air bags are designed to work in conjunction with seat belts, not as a restraint system alone. They are not soft cushy pillows. They deploy at approximately 250 miles an hour (the blink of an eye) and begin to deflate immediately after deployment. If you're not buckled up, you will land in the air bag. Since it starts to deflate immediately, you will still be at risk for crashing into the steering column or through the windshield.
  9. I can't wear a seat belt because I can't feed my baby with it on. If you're driving, your eyes should be on the road. If you're trying to feed your baby in the backseat, you can't possibly be focusing your attention on the road and you are risking both of your lives. If you're a passenger and need to feed your baby a bottle, sit in the back seat with the baby. Both of you should be properly restrained. Nursing mothers should never feed a baby while the vehicle is moving. If someone crashes into your car, the laws of physics will make it impossible for you to hold onto your baby. Pull over to a safe location to nurse.
  10. I have a medical condition. I can't wear it. This can be a valid excuse, but only if you have a written medical note from your doctor. Carry it in your purse or wallet so it remains with you if you are a passenger in someone else's vehicle.