I was thinking about seatbelts the other day. Remember in the late sixties, all vehicles — except buses — were mandated to be fitted with seatbelts? But nobody was using them. And back then, there were no laws to enforce usage. The National Ad Council ran countless ads for 25 years, trying to encourage our citizens to “Buckle Up.” States started to implement laws, and by 1995, every state except New Hampshire had a “Click it or Ticket” law.
Here’s what got me thinking. I was one of the resisters. My thought process was nobody could tell me what to do. I would not wear my seatbelt. I was young. It was my life — my decision. And then, my uncle had a head-on collision with a tractor trailer. He was not belted in and was thrown from his car. He broke both his legs, but I determined that he would have died if he had remained in his car because of his seatbelt. So now, my silent protest was validated.
Flash forward a few years: I’m driving home from work behind a tractor trailer. The red light turns green, so I gun it. The truck stays stopped. Crashing into the truck, my front bumper locks with the truck’s back bumper and we are attached. Meanwhile, without my seatbelt, I’ve been thrown through my windshield headfirst and am now lying unconscious on the hood of my car. The truck has no idea about me. So, it keeps driving around with my car and me attached to the truck. Finally, I got to the ER for lifesaving treatment. The bottom line for me? I try to buckle my seatbelt before I even reach my car. Seatbelts are a must for me. The government told me what to do. Turns out they knew better than I did. I am now a seatbelt proponent.
That whole thought process brought me to face coverings. Just like seatbelts, it seems face coverings have become a new hotbed of controversy. Both sides seem to have very strong opinions.
Here at the chamber building, we do require that everyone who comes in wear a face covering. And so far, we have not had any resistance. And for that, we say “thank you.”
The bottom line is, I need a hug. But until we get our COVID-19 curve to flatten, I won’t get that chance. So, in the interim, I will continue to wear my mask inside the chamber office…to keep me safe….and do the same for you. So, until that time for my big hug, I ask you to “buckle up.”
Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.