Seat Belt

Hey everyone, you are facing once again a story of mine.

Most people are used to seat belt, those nice little extras in the car to keep you safe. In China they few it differently, most taxis do not even have seat belts in the back seats. Once I used the seat belt in the front seat of a taxi, apparently it hadn’t been used forever as it was kind of stucked. After the ride my shirt had a nice black stripe across my chest…well, you cant have everything I guess.

So I asked my parents in law (with the translating help of my wife) why Chinese people avoid the seat belts. The dad said he had no idea, as he always uses it, however the mom said that the seat belt is too tight for Chinese people and it hinders you to get out of a car after a crash…omg…sure, because without a seat belt you can not get out anyways 😀

When they visited us some weeks ago I also noticed that both of them never used those safety belts. They usually sat in the back of the car, not the front. So I asked once again with the help of my wife, why they wouldn’t use the belts, as we have also a terrible high fine when caught without the belt and the answer was “In the backseats of a car you are safe, nothing can happen there”…

Why oh why is this happening. I asked some other Chinese I know and they told me similar stories. It seems they sometimes even learn that stuff from driving school etc. though I cannot believe that, would be just too extreme.

2 thoughts on “Seat Belt”

  1. American married to a Chinese lady, luckily she is thoroughly westernized and does has little patience for the Chinese way of doing things. Some friends of hers (both of whom speak excellent English) visited us in Texas. After picking them up in San Antonio, I told them to buckle up. At first they refused saying it wasn’t necessary or required in China, I informed that this wasn’t China and in the US, seatbelts are REQUIRED for all. they buckled up, but later, unknown to me, removed them, which was noticed by and resulted in my being pulled over by San Antonio PD. After explaining to him they were from China and there seatbelts in the back were not required, he proceeded to give them a very stern lecture and explained to them that seatbelts are required in America and by being unbuckled could cost me close to $1000 in fines and other costs. Afterward, they said they were amazed that American police strictly enforced and took seriously traffic laws.

    Now I’m in China teaching history in an American High School Program to Chinese students who are skipping the gaokao and going to college abroad. When I mentioned everybody wears a seatbelt and not wearing one can lead to a huge fine, one student replied “How rude.” I explained it wasn’t rudeness but safety and showed them a traffic safety video of a car crash where children in the back weren’t buckled. what got them was the young child dummy crashing through the windshield.

    1. Last time my mother-in-law visited she once again tried to avoid the seat belt. I mean she even tried to “fake” using it by putting it around her but not pluging it in, just holding it with the hand. Even after showing her some crash test videos she didnt believe us that is dangerous to not using it. Well, some people never learn.
      I hope they will enforce it more in the future in China. Germany was similar to China when it comes to using the seatbelt, until they started to run a 5min show in the 80s or so every day on TV explaining important safety issues. These days it is very hard to find anyone not using the seatbelt and yes, police also enforces it rather strictly 🙂

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